For all of Antonio Conte’s histrionics, he also brings a steely-eyed ruthlessness to Tottenham’s Champions League charge that is the polar opposite of being ‘Spursy.’
Antonio Conte is building something special at Spurs 👀 pic.twitter.com/fGkyYChscp
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) April 9, 2022
A fourth consecutive win, emphatic in the end after Hugo Lloris’ first-half heroics, has put them in pole position for the top four with rivals Arsenal and Manchester United losing.
That looked impossible when the Italian took over with Spurs in ninth, but there is no victory parade being planned yet with this manager in charge.
‘We need to be ice cold. Ready to go again,’ said Saturday’s hat-trick hero Son Heung-min, who has scored eight goals in his last eight games.
‘I don’t want to feel over the moon. I want to be really cool and calm because there are still a lot of games to play. Next Saturday we start from zero again.
‘We can be better than this but we showed strong personality against Aston Villa. Some teams would have lost in this situation.’
Spurs have now scored more PL goals this season under Antonio Conte (appointed November) than Arsenal have under Arteta
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) April 9, 2022
The pragmatism will be welcomed by Tottenham fans aware of their club’s reputation of flattering to deceive.
Though they are three points ahead of Arsenal with a superior goal difference, the Gunners still have a game in hand and next month’s rearranged north London derby is still to come.
Conte is pleased to have the rare luxury of a full week to prepare for Spurs’ next test against Brighton.
‘To have more time to work on tactical aspects is really important,’ he explained. ‘Don’t forget when I arrived in November, I had to bring my idea of football but at the same time play for three points and make sure the players got rest.’
Every team Antonio Conte manages eventually starts playing good WINNING football.
Tottenham look like the favourite for Champions League. Elite manager. pic.twitter.com/noVk6QA2X2
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) April 9, 2022
Unlike his predecessors Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo, Conte’s energy and passion have got Tottenham’s big players at it.
Lloris, 35, gave a goalkeeping masterclass with seven excellent saves in the first half, allowing Spurs to lead at the interval through Son’s early strike.
‘He was the boss today,’ smiled Son. ‘He was turning like a Superman, like a cat, saving every single ball. It was insane.’
Lloris got a rest in the second period as Tottenham’s attacking players showed what they could do.
What I liked the most was how Antonio Conte put Lucas Moura on at the end to remind us what it used to be like #THFC
— Jonathan Veal (@jonathandveal83) April 9, 2022
Two outstanding Harry Kane assists set up Dejan Kulusevski and Son before the South Korean completed his treble with a brilliant finish into the corner from Kulusevski’s pass.
While Spurs look forward with optimism, Villa boss Steven Gerrard has to kick his heels for a fortnight — their next scheduled opponents Liverpool play an FA Cup semi-final instead on Saturday — and mull over four defeats in a row.
‘It’s going to be tough. You want another game straight away in our position so it’s going to hurt,’ he acknowledged.
‘At this level we can’t keep giving teams goals that can be avoided. There’s a gap to the teams above us. I thought we looked outstanding at times so that’s a positive but from a defensive point of view, we have a lot to learn.’
There was a further blow for Villa after defender Lucas Digne was taken off with a suspected broken collarbone that could keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Note: This article is written Joe Bernstein and has been published at Daily Mail UK