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“When I was coach of Inter”- Conte makes Kulusevski and Bentancur admission after Tottenham’s 5-1 win

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Manager Antonio Conte hails new signings Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur after Newcastle win

Speaking in his post-match press conference after his side’s 5-1 win over Newcastle United last night (h/t Evening Standard), Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte was full of praise for his new signings Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur.

Spurs returned to Premier League action for the first time last night since the international break, and gave their home supporters a treat to watch as the north London club put five goals past a Magpies side that struggled to get going in the second half.

Conte credited Kulusevski for being a major part of the victory, admitting that he tried to sign the winger when he was at Inter Milan, and said that the Swede was a great signing for Tottenham for the present and the future.

“When I was coach of Inter I tried to ask to sign him but Juventus, perhaps they put more money, and they got him. He’s only 21, 22 and he’s strong and good physically. For Tottenham I think he’s a great signing for the present and the future.”

Antonio Conte admitted he tried to sign Dejan Kulusevski when he was in charge of Inter Milan. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Antonio Conte admitted he tried to sign Dejan Kulusevski when he was in charge of Inter Milan. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old forward managed to get an assist as well last night, playing in Son Heung-Min from the right flank to help his side score their third goal of the game. He would later be replaced by Lucas Moura in the last fifteen minutes of the match.

“With more balance”

Bentancur was also impressive in the fixture, partnering Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in midfield and providing much-needed solidity and calmness in the middle of the pitch as his team ran riot against Eddie Howe’s men in the second half of the game.

Conte was effusive about the 24-year-old star as well, saying that he was a strong player and that along with his former Juventus teammate Kulusevski, he provided the squad with more balance since joining in January.

“We’re talking about a strong player but also Rodrigo Bentancur. We lost four players but with these two new signings we made this squad more complete, with more balance.”

Tottenham Hotspur's Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur labelled a strong player by Antonio Conte. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur’s Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur labelled a strong player by Antonio Conte. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Both players were snapped up in the winter transfer window, with Spurs swooping in at the last minute on deadline day to complete a double signing from Juve. While Bentancur was signed permanently, Kulusevski joined on an extended loan that expires at the end of next season.

Despite never playing in the Premier League, both stars settled in quite quickly and have impressed since then, becoming first-choice for Conte in their new team. It is remarkable how quickly they have adapted to a new league and side, aside from the fact that they are still young players who can improve and develop further.

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Conte has somewhat of a reputation as a demanding figure in the transfer market, but he seems to be won over by the ex-Serie A pair. As the manager said, they lost four players in January to weaken their squad, but the former Juve duo have ensured that these outgoings have not been missed.

The next few weeks are critical for Tottenham’s top-four hopes, with Arsenal posing a threat to their chase to secure Champions League qualification for next season. Currently in fourth place, we will need our new winter transfer window signings to continue their impressive form for us until the summer to ensure we get what we want.

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