Conte: Spurs corrected past mistakes in window

Antonio Conte said Tottenham Hotspur endured a “strange” January transfer window because they had to correct past “mistakes” in the market.

Spurs had a frantic end to the month as Dele Alli joined Everton in a permanent deal while Tanguy Ndombele, Bryan Gil, Giovani Lo Celso and Jack Clarke all left the club on loan.

Tottenham made two signings of their own, bringing in Juventus duo Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski — the former in a £20 million deal and the latter initially on loan — as they look to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League alongside a run in the FA Cup, which continues on Saturday with a fourth-round tie against Brighton.

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“For sure, it was strange to send [four] on loan and to sell one player in January,” Conte said. “Maybe something wrong happened in the past. It was strange to send, I repeat, in January, four players to go on loan, one player to sell.

“It means that maybe in the past, you have to see what you did and maybe to understand there were some mistakes in the past. Usually, you buy players to reinforce your team. But if you send away on loan players that you bought in the last two or three years, it means [there was] something wrong [with what] you did in the past.

“Honestly, before I arrived at Tottenham and to read the list of the players in the squad, you consider the players you had in the squad and all the players are important players. Ndombele, we paid a lot, it was the same for Lo Celso, it was the same for Gil. Only when you stay in the situation, you understand very well which is the best solution for the club, for the players in this moment. For sure, to lose four players in January is not normal.

“We share the decision with the club and the players but it means that something wrong happened in the past. For this reason, we have to pay more attention in the future when we go in the market about the choice of players. It becomes of fundamental importance if we want to reinforce the team, otherwise instead of reinforcing the team you drop the quality.

“I think for sure now, the squad is more complete because we covered the roles [where] if an injury happened, I was in great difficulty, I was in trouble, but for sure, now it is more complete.”

Less than 48 hours after the transfer window closed, Steve Hitchen resigned from his role as Tottenham’s director of technical performance, ending a 17-year association with the club.

More recently, Hitchen was responsible for bringing in Ndombele and Lo Celso while Fabio Paratici, appointed last year as “managing director, football,” was a key figure in recruiting Gil.

Asked about Gil, who only joined the club last July in a £21.6m move from Sevilla which also saw Erik Lamela move in the opposite direction, Conte added: “I like to tell the truth and for sure we are talking about a really good player, Gil, because, he has good quality and he understands football quickly.

“In this moment, for sure this league is very tough. This league is different. If you compare this league with other leagues, you play another sport here.

“For this reason, when you go to sign a new player you have to consider many aspects, not only one aspect — if he shoots well, or makes an assist — you have to consider a lot of situations because this league is very difficult. You can be good, you can be a creative player but at the same time you be strong physically, run a lot, to be resilient. The impact of this league is not simple.”

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