Antonio Conte praises Tottenham’s attitude in spectacular return to Bournemouth

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte was relieved to see stoppage time winner Rodrigo Bentancur count for Bournemouth and admitted he fears a heart attack if they have another late goal disallowed.

Spurs ended their three-game winless streak with a dramatic 3-2 win at Vitality Stadium after second-half goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Ben Davies and Bentancur.

Bentancur completed the visitors’ comeback from two goals down with a side-footed finish two minutes into stoppage time to spark jubilant celebrations in scenes reminiscent of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Lisbon.

Tottenham were denied a midweek winner after VAR ruled Harry Kane’s late effort was offside and therefore prevented a Spurs victory that would have sent them to the Champions League in the Round of 16.

This meant that when Conte saw Bentancur shooting home late, he briefly walked through the tunnel before celebrating once he had been awarded.

He said: “I came back when I knew the goal was legal.

“I was thinking in my head and in my heart that I could have a heart attack because in two days to score and then get the goal disallowed I said I’m going down (the tunnel) and I stay calm then I wait for the decision of the referee.

“But of course it was great to see the desire of my players and the reaction they had. I also repeat the wickedness they put on the pitch because I saw in the eyes of my players the want to win this game.

“Also when we drew 2-2, then in our mind the only thought was to take the ball and start playing again. This reaction has been really positive and I want it from my players.

Conte had made six changes since the draw with Sporting ahead of Tuesday’s crucial trip to Marseille, but the move looked set to backfire when Kieffer Moore hit a brace for the hosts to put them up two after 50 minutes.

Sessegnon started the comeback with a weak effort that came off the post seven minutes later and substitute Ivan Perisic picked out Ben Davies from a corner shortly after with the Wales international heading home with Cherries keeper Mark Travers caught in the no man’s land.

Another set-piece produced the winner with Son’s delivery falling for Bentancur, who returned home to end a difficult period for Tottenham after suffering back-to-back league defeats to Manchester United and Newcastle.

“I think we’ve started a journey with this group of players,” Conte said ahead of his first birthday at Spurs on Wednesday.

“For me, these guys are really, really good guys, really good players, but sometimes they lose confidence easily.

“I think you have to try to work and keep working on this aspect because sometimes it’s frustrating that you try, you work a lot and try to find a solution to hurt your opponent and sometimes you see your team go up and down, up and down.

“We have to try to find stability. I ask my players after the first half to take responsibility in their decision and when I talk about responsibility to make decisions on the pitch, important decisions and difficult passes.

“For us, I think it’s an important step that we had to take. We are working, we are a work in progress, but at the same time there is a lot of room for improvement and we have to do it.

Bournemouth caretaker manager Gary O’Neil was disappointed to see his side suffer a third consecutive defeat but acknowledged the quality of the opposition.

“They put everything in and nothing out. The nature of it is hard to bear, so I’m really disappointed for the band,” O’Neil admitted.

“When they bring in Lucas Moura, Perisic, Bryan Gil, Bentancur and keep bringing world class players off the bench, you think it’s tricky. We lost to Tottenham and that’s never a shame.”

About Coy Lewallen

Check Also

Several emergency services respond to an overturned car

A car overturned on a busy road near Wimborne this afternoon, prompting several emergency services …