Have Spurs shown Conte glimpses of a bright future?

Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leeds United

Antonio Conte witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly side of his Tottenham Hotspur side. Nevertheless, a game of the proverbial ‘two-halves his charges provided a stirring second-half recovery to snaffle to points from Marcelo Bielsa’ busy Leeds United outfit.

Antonio Conte oversaw a victory in his first home Premier League match as the Tottenham Hotspur manager (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

The N17 faithful provided a warm reception for incoming Head Coach, taking charge of his first home fixture in what has recently become something of a poisoned chalice of a footballing hot seat. Nevertheless, the Italian has all the credentials in the book where success is concerned – time for his charges to take up the baton and produce the consistent and capable football their fans demand.

But it wasn’t a steady start from the home side. Leeds – energetic and invigorated – went close through a Stuart Dallas piledriver. Anxious moments for the home side – the new chief, animated. 

Tottenham lacked creativity. Heung-Min Son tried to provide a spark. Harry Kane, unable to profit from the South Koreans’ industry. 

Adam Forshaw was next to test the water from distance – Leeds looking the more likely – the audience already distinctly unimpressed. It came as little surprise when the visitors opened the scoring shortly before the interval – Dan James on-hand to finish from close t=range after Jack Harrison had out-muscled Emmerson Royal.

James forced Lloris into a smart save immediately after the interval, either side of both Kane and Son hitting the frame of the goal – The North Londoners, perhaps sent out with a flea in their ear. 

But Conte appears to have inherited damaged good. Tottenham’s football – pedestrian and without purpose – They needed an olive branch – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg provided it.

It was a scruffy strike but found its intended target – Lucas Moura due credit for keeping the ball alive and teeing up the former Southampton man – The Dane’s celebration, muted.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg brought Spurs back into the game just before the hour (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

But the mood and momentum had swung. Liam Cooper was booked for a trip on Lucas – Eric Dier rattled the post with the resulting free-kick – Sergio Reguilon on hand to pick up the pieces – Spurs ahead.

Son was off-target after skipping past a static Leeds backline. Meanwhile, Lloris clung on after James had fired goalwards. On the touchline, Conte conducted his orchestra with raw passion and deep enthusiasm, calling on the crowd to raise the roof.

One swallow does not make a summer. Conte will be well aware of the task ahead of him and the brittle mentality which has been evident now for some time. 

Spurs now turn their attention to the UEFA Europa Conference League where they face NS Mura at the Stadion Ljudski on Thursday, November 25 (5:15pm). The Lilywhites return to Premier League action on Sunday 28 when taking on Burnley at Turf Moor (2pm).

Tottenham Hotspur:  Lloris (Capt), Royal, Tanganga (Sanchez 68′), Dier, Davies, Reguilon (Sessegnon 79′), Hojbjerg, Winks, Lucas (Dele 88′), Son, Kane Subs not used: Gollini (GK), Doherty, Rodon, Bryan, Bergwijn, Ndombele

Booked: Emmerson Royal (foul)

Goals: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg 58′, Sergio Reguilon 69′

Leeds United: Meslier, Dallas, Llorente, Cooper (Capt), Struijk, Phillips, Forshaw (Roberts 72′), James, Klich (Firpo 59′), Harrison, Gelhardt (McKinstry 87′) Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Drameh, Cresswell, McCarron, Jenkins, Greenwood

Booked: Joe Gelhardt (foul), Adam Forshaw (foul), Liam Cooper (foul), Kalvin Phillips (foul)

Goals: Dan James 44′

Referee: Andre Marriner. 

Assistants: Simon Long and Scott Ledger

Fourth Official: Kevin Friend

VAR: Darren England

Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

Attendance: 58,989

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]