Antonio Conte hails ‘nasty’ Richarlison and could unleash the Brazilian in a fearsome front four for Tottenham


ANTONIO CONTE hailed Richarlison for making Tottenham nastier – and could unleash the Brazilian in a fearsome front FOUR from the start of some matches.

Forward Richarlison, 25, joined Spurs from Everton in a £60million deal this summer.

Richarlison celebrates with his new Spurs team-mates after Kane's leveller

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Richarlison celebrates with his new Spurs team-mates after Kane’s levellerCredit: Getty
Kane gives Richarlison a hug after securing a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge

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Kane gives Richarlison a hug after securing a 2-2 draw at Stamford BridgeCredit: AP
Richarlison joined Tottenham from Everton for £60million this summer

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Richarlison joined Tottenham from Everton for £60million this summerCredit: PA

His ability to get under opponents’ skin was seen as an attractive quality to Conte, who wanted to make his team more streetwise this season.

Richarlison was a complete nuisance to the Chelsea defence when making his debut as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s fiery 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.

His pest-like qualities helped Spurs battle back into the game, as Conte sprung a surprise by substituting Ryan Sessegnon for the forward, rather than Dejan Kulusevski or Son Heung-min.

It meant that Tottenham’s team were suddenly boasting Harry Kane, Son, Kulusevski AND Richarlison in an unexpected 4-2-4 for most of the second half.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s hosting of Wolves, Conte said: “For sure Richy is a player that made us focussed, nasty. He’s a player I like.

“He’s always into the training session with his mind. For us I think this is a good sign.

“We are working also on the tactical aspect because the season will be long and there are many games that we have to play also with four strikers.

“In the end at Chelsea, we played with Lucas Moura as wing-back, (Ivan) Perisic – we are talking about in the past a striker -, Richarlison, Kulusevski, Sonny (and Kane).

“But to do this, it’s important to have organisation in the tactical aspect.”

What Conte meant by that is that if his side are going to go so attacking, they need to ensure they are not left wide open at the back.

That gung-ho approach helped Spurs get back into the game as Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg chalked off Kalidou Koulibaly’s early stunner.

But it did leave gaps on the counter-attack, which allowed Reece James to put Chelsea back ahead in the 77th minute with what looked like being the winner.

That was before Kane headed home Perisic’s corner in the sixth minute of injury time, sparking celebrations so wild that Conte and Thomas Tuchel clashed and were both sent off.

Elaborating on playing with four forwards, Conte added: “The problem could be for the others (the opposition) when you have the ball, but without the ball also we must not lose the balance.

“The second goal we conceded against Chelsea, I think that we lost a bit of balance. 

“We have to try to improve because for me to play with four strikers can become a good option during the game, and to start some games.

“The most important thing is that the four strikers want to run and to make sacrifices without the ball. This is very important.

“But I have players with good stamina, with good quality and we are working also on this aspect.”

Tottenham were once known for being a little too nice.

But that accusation can no longer be laid at their door, particularly with battling players like Richarlison and Cristian Romero in their squad.

Tuchel felt Romero should have been sent off moments before Kane’s goal at Chelsea for tugging Marc Cucurella’s hair.

Romero got away with that one, but does miss Saturday’s early kick-off with an adductor problem that could see him sidelined for another few weeks.

Conte added: “About Cristian, I speak a lot with him. For sure, he’s a player who’s really strong physically. 

“He has no fear of anyone but for sure he has to be always really focussed to understand the situation, to try to always be better, to improve the situations he needs to improve. 

“But I speak a lot with him, I speak a lot with my players about being strong – but always in a good way.”

The Spurs boss seemed to be suggesting Romero may have overstepped the mark with his hair-tug.

But overall he is in favour of his team becoming nastier – because that is a streak most winning teams possess.

The Italian added: “To be nasty is very important. Very important. 

“It means that you need to feel the blood of your opponent and try in a sporting way to kill your opponent. 

“You have to understand, when you go to play a game, you can draw also. 

“But at the same time you have to understand if the draw is a success for you or if the draw is (like) a loss. 

“If you want to have ambition, I think you have to think only to get three points and the draw is half a loss for me.”

Likely line-up: Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son.





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