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Crouch makes claim about what Conte is really like

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Peter Crouch has claimed that Antonio Conte is not as fierce as described in the dressing room and believes he has an empathetic side that will benefit the Tottenham squad in periods of difficulty.

Conte, 52, was appointed as Spurs’ new manager last week after Nuno Espirito Santo’s dismissal, and oversaw a 3-2 win in his first game in charge of the club against Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League.

He manned his first Premier League game in over three years against Everton on Sunday, but could only see his new side come away with a point in a 0-0 stalemate.

Conte faces a tough job on his hands in North London, to try and lift a squad lacking confidence and belief after a poor spell under Nuno, who tried to pick up the pieces left behind by his predecessor Jose Mourinho.

However, former Spurs striker Crouch feels the Italian is the man to do that and believes he will not let the players mindsets get the better of him.

Crouch wrote in his column for the Daily Mail: “Antonio Conte won’t allow himself to be undermined, even if he has a massive job on his hands at Tottenham.

“Conte has to be the one for Daniel Levy now. Here is a top manager, winner of five league titles in England and Italy, who still has that fire inside him.

“If this doesn’t work out yet again then the players have to seriously look at themselves. It boils down to asking whether the squad is good enough and if the attitude is right. We will find out.

“Although they didn’t register a shot on target, it was a good start defensively at Everton.”

The stalemate at Goodison Park was a complete change in performance compared to Conte’s first game in charge against Vitesse, where Spurs were purposeful going forward and leaky in defence.

Crouch went on to add that Conte needs to be given time at Spurs for his methods to be implemented properly, and feels his more empathetic side gets overlooked when it comes to keeping the players onside.

He added: “I was at the Vitesse Arnhem game on Thursday night and, my word, he has things to correct. Carnage. You could see the tempo go up — they flew out of the blocks — but took their foot off the gas and it becomes the same old Tottenham again.

“Poor defensively, no energy. They reverted to type. It will take time for him to implement his style and he needs fit players to carry that off.

“All the talk is that Conte is a grafter, the famous double sessions, but I feel he has an empathetic side to him that brings players in.

“He isn’t as hard as we think and that is a massive thing, because that Chelsea dressing room he had looked like a strong one to me. The trick is to keep it like that for as long as possible.”

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