Antonio Conte Sends Warning to Arsenal after West Ham Victory

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By Martin Graham | 22nd Mar 2022

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has fired a warning to North London rivals Arsenal on the top four race.

Spurs beat West Ham United 3-1 on Sunday to pile pressure on the top four hopefuls Manchester United – who went down to sixth after Spurs’ win – and Arsenal, who currently sit in fourth place.

Goals from Heung-Min Son and an own goal from West Ham defender Kurt Zouma helped the North Londoners to a London derby victory over the Hammers.

The win sent Spurs up to fifth, three points behind Arsenal – who have a game in hand – and within a place of a UEFA Champions League spot. The victory was also the first time that Spurs won back-to-back Premier League matches since December.

Conte, revved up from his side’s improving fortunes since the turn of the year, immediately talked about how much fight he has in him and how he has his sights set on Arsenal after the match.

“You know very well that I like to fight. I think my past gives me the chance. I also deserve the chance to fight to win,” the Italian manager said.

“The only way to put pressure on Arsenal is to get three points. To win. There are nine games to go and for us every game has to be a final. They have a good advantage because they’ve been working with the same coach for many years and they’ve had many transfer markets with the same coach.

“Maybe now they are more ready than us but in five months we have done a fantastic job with these players.”

Conte also talked about his side’s improvement from when he joined up till now, claiming that the gulf in quality between the big sides in England and his Spurs team is not as big anymore.

“I now think we have reduced the gap with many teams in England,” Conte said. “One example, two months ago we played against Chelsea three times and we lost three games.

“It was right because Chelsea were better than us in every aspect. After two months now I would like to have another chance to see what our level is. I’m sure now our level has improved a lot and that Chelsea would have to fight much to win against us than before.”

Son praises Kane for contributions to win

Harry Kane caused Zouma’s own goal and provided both assists for Son’s brace in the win against West Ham to further cement their place as the Premier League’s deadliest attacking duo.

Both have combined for a record 40 goals in the Premier League, after overtaking Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, who combined for 36 goals when they played for the European champions.

Kane also started the season very poorly, and Spurs fans believed that the England captain had given up on the club following his failed summer move to Manchester City. He has since picked up and, in a late charge, is 12 goals and five assists to the good, which have greatly helped Spurs’ resurgence.

Son praised Kane for his great contribution to the game. “Before the international break it is always good to win the game and go away with a free mind,” Son told Sky Sports.

“Hopefully we are ready to go again when we come back.

”I just make the runs as an option for Kane. If he doesn’t pass me the ball he might have the space to pass to someone else or to shoot.

“It’s incredible to have this striker next to me. I feel really sorry for him today that he didn’t score. He looked sad. I feel sad for him as a striker, you want to score everything.”

West Ham boss David Moyes, meanwhile, lamented his side’s display while expressing relief at the opportunity to re-energise thanks to the international break.

“I think it is not just me but all the managers are happy for the break because of the intensity of the games. It is no excuse because we want to be a big club.

“When you play in Europe you have to get used to it and the players do to, the preparation time, the recovery time, the one thing we have is a great resilience and the players showed that in the main today.

“Maybe we lacked some good defending and good finishing but in the main, we did not give in or cave in.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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