Gary Neville: Antonio Conte impact will strike fear into Arsenal, Chelsea FC

Gary Neville has his say on Tottenham's improved performances following the appointment of Antonio Conte

Gary Neville
Gary Neville (Photo: Sky Sports)

Gary Neville believes that Tottenham Hotspur’s improving performances under Antonio Conte will start to strike some “fear” into their top-four rivals Arsenal, Chelsea FC and Manchester United.

The north London side came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw with Liverpool FC in the Premier League on Sunday as they continued their rebuild under the Italian head coach.

Conte has been brought in to help steer the Lilywhites back into the top four after the north London side’s stuttering form under Nuno Espirito Santo at the start of the season put their top-four hopes in doubt.

Spurs are now seventh and eight points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, but Conte’s side have played three games fewer than their north London neighbours. Chelsea FC are currently 12 points ahead of Spurs but they have also played three games more than the Lilywhites.

Former Manchester United full-back Neville reckons that the impact Conte has been having at the north London club since his appointment will be a cause for concern for the rest of the teams challenging for Champions League qualification this season.

Speaking on his Sky Sports podcast after Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool FC, Neville said: “He’s a great manager, you can see the influence he’s had on this group. The energy compared to how they were before, the stadium is electric, and it was brilliant in here all the way through the game.

“You can see him on the touchline. The emotions. He cares passionately and is desperate to win.

“He’ll be disappointed with the chances missed because I think he set up his team perfectly, but also proud and realise he’s got a good group of players here. We started to question that over the last 12 to 18 months.

“Were this team over the hill and were they spent under Mauricio Pochettino and as good as it can get? But they’ve shown a performance today that can tell us they can really be competitive and push for the top four.

“It will strike a little bit of fear into Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham, all the others with aspirations to be up there. This Tottenham team are going to be real in the next four to five months.”

Tottenham are in League Cup quarter-final action on Wednesday night when they host West Ham United in front of their home fans. The Lilywhites will then take on Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League on Boxing Day.

Speaking after the draw against the Merseyside outfit on Sunday, Conte insisted that he was pleased with his side’s performance and the result.

“I think to take one point against Liverpool is good,” Conte told BBC Sport. “We’re talking about one of the best teams in the world.

“They are a point of reference for us to work hard and try to be closer to them. It won’t be easy. They’ve created something special for all these years.

“To play against Liverpool is not easy. You have to be prepared to suffer.

“We created many chances. In the second half there was more balance. [It is] a good point but if we want to improve our mentality we have to start to think we should be disappointed to only get one point.”

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