Antonio Conte’s ongoing battle at Tottenham after proven training ground success against Leeds

Antonio Conte still has a full-back battle in his Tottenham squad, despite the two creating Tottenham’s first goal in their win over Leeds on Saturday.

Spurs made the trip to Elland Road after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor during the week and got the positive response they needed.

The strong reaction also earned them three much-needed Premier League points and they are now five points behind fourth-placed Man United with two games less.

In Conte’s preferred 3-4-3 setup there is a heavy reliance on full-backs, something that was seen during his time at Chelsea but not something that was seen at Spurs under Nuno Espirito Santo.

So it took some time for the Lilywhites to adapt, but the Italian’s influence may be starting to show on the pitch as well.

In his post-match press conference, Conte acknowledged his wingers’ success at Elland Road.

“For the first time I saw my mark on that system, creating with the full-back and the other wing-back to score. It’s a mark of my system, of my formation,” admitted the player from 52 years.

“It’s the first time. It means the work is starting to work.

“They are going to press a lot, they have duels in all areas, all areas of the pitch. Today I asked my players that,” he added. “I wanted to see answers not only on the footballing aspects. I wanted to see improvements in this aspect, which in my opinion is very important.”

The Italian’s comments after the win were very different to those heard after the 1-0 defeat during the week and the performance highlighted much of his tactics coming into play.

Ryan Sessegnon assisted Matt Doherty for Tottenham’s first goal against Leeds.

The battle on the left flank has pitted Ryan Sessegnon against Sergio Reguilon since Conte’s arrival.

Sessegnon has experience as a defender and winger and showed his impact in the final third during his spell at Fulham where, in the 2017/18 season, he scored 15 goals and registered six assists in the league.

However, the 21-year-old has suffered numerous injuries and bad luck under the Italian so far which means he hasn’t had too many chances to get some good playing time and play. impress.

Reguilon has made 24 appearances in all competitions for Spurs so far this season and has been the first choice on the left since Conte’s arrival.

The Spaniard hasn’t played on the pitch since the 3-2 loss to Southampton after facing Covid, meaning Sessegnon has been given the nod.

The youngster had shown quality glimpses when he presented and produced a solid performance against Man City.

As for the trip to Elland Road, the London-born player has once again started alongside Conte and he hasn’t disappointed.

Sessegnon not only had two interceptions and two key assists, it was his cross that set up Matt Doherty for Spurs’ first goal of the game.

Working down the flanks and helping each other in the final third is exactly what the Tottenham boss wants and needs from his full-backs, so the 21-year-old didn’t disappoint.

The performance against Marcelo Bielsa’s former side could now spark more competition for Reguilon to return to the squad after returning from isolation.

The Spaniard didn’t produce an abysmal performance but simply didn’t have the required impact and if Sessegnon continues his form when given the chance there could be some big decisions for Conte to make. on the left side.

On the right side there is another battle and one that the Spurs boss might have thought would be resolved during Janaury’s transfer window.

A right-back was something Conte had asked for but didn’t receive, during the winter window, after interest in Adama Traore collapsed.

This left the 52-year-old with Emerson Royal and Doherty, both of whom struggled to maintain consistent form and also have the required impact on the other side of the pitch.

Royal has been given the nod most often under the Italian and has made 32 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham since joining last summer.

The Brazilian was bought under Espirito Santo, who played at full-backs rather than full-backs and moving to a new country and a new league requires some settling in.

However, Conte needs his players to perform now, in the final months of the season, as Spurs continue to battle for a top-four spot.

In recent games, the 23-year-old struggled to make that impact on the right flank, which led to him being replaced by Lucas Moura in the loss to Burnley and sidelined against Leeds.

Royal came on for the final 12 minutes at Elland Road and had half a chance inside the box but his hesitation and poor execution meant it went nowhere.

Doherty was chosen to start at right-back and played the full 90 minutes against Leeds, just his third Premier League start of the season.

The Irishman not only had an 89.1 per cent passing accuracy and produced two key passes, he was also on the end of Sessegnon’s cross and slotted the ball into the back of the net, for his first goal for Tottenham.

Throughout the rest of the game, he was involved in the build-up to Spurs’ second goal and also played his part in the defensive half of the pitch, making three clearances and two interceptions.

However, Doherty put in a solid second-half performance in the thrilling 3-2 win over Leicester and then failed to maintain that pace in the next game against Chelsea. has a new podcast! We’ve brought together your two favorite Tottenham journalists in Alasdair Gold and Rob Guest to keep you up to date with all that’s happening at Hotspur Way.

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Conte now has a dilemma on his hands for Tuesday’s FA Cup tie and future fixtures.

Spurs still have a number of games to play and a few still need to be rescheduled, meaning all four players will most likely have a chance to impress.

Doherty and Sessegnon will both feel they deserve to retain their places in the starting XI after Saturday, but the Italian could look to rotate when his side travel to play at Middlesbrough.

Whoever is given the green light to start in the next few matches will have a real shot at trying to secure their place in the starting XI and find consistent form and it’s up to them.

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