Antonio Conte declared himself proud of Tottenham’s development after they closed in on the Premier League summit by beating Everton 2-0 on Saturday.
The Toffees turned in a stubborn first-half display in Conte’s 50th match in charge of Spurs, who were fortunate not to fall behind when Amadou Onana and Demarai Gray squandered glorious chances.
However, Tottenham ultimately came good after the break. An injury to former Everton talisman Richarlison led to Yves Bissouma’s introduction, and Spurs’ change in shape overwhelmed Everton.
Jordan Pickford’s blunder gifted Harry Kane a penalty to break the deadlock, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg rounding off the win late on.
Everton failed to muster a single shot in the second half, and did not get one attempt on target all game.
Spurs’ win put them level with second-placed Manchester City, who face Liverpool on Sunday, and just one point behind league leaders Arsenal, who travel to Leeds United on the same day.
“We have to be really happy, because we played a good game, created a lot of chances and we had an injury during the game with Richy, for sure this situation could create something negative,” Conte told Sky Sports.
“Instead, we found the right solution with three midfielders, I liked the attitude. We started the game very well, maybe in the first half we had to pay more attention because we conceded two counter-attacks, we could do much better, but in the end we deserved the win. We have to continue this way.
“I’m really pleased, despite the difficulty of the game, of the opponent and a bad injury, we were able to solve the situation.
“It means the players are growing in many aspects, not only tactical but also to face the difficulties. This makes me very proud of my players.”
Spurs have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League encounters against Everton (W10 D9), winning more games (29) and scoring more goals (97) against the Toffees than against any other side in the competition’s history.
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