Conte points to Tottenham’s ‘big mistakes’ after derby downfall

Antonio Conte put his finger on where it all went wrong for Tottenham

The Spurs boss said his team lacked precision in the final third and spurned a host of opportunities to trouble Arsenal before half-time in a game that got away from them after the break.

Goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka gave Premier League leaders Arsenal a satisfying 3-1 victory, with Harry Kane’s first-half penalty all that Spurs could muster.

That spot-kick brought the visitors briefly level, but Jesus scored early in the second half to restore Arsenal’s lead, and a red card for Tottenham’s Emerson Royal was followed by Xhaka putting the seal on victory.

Tottenham have now failed to win any of their last 12 Premier League visits to Arsenal (D4 L8), their longest ongoing such run in the competition.

Conte told BT Sport: “I think the first half was in the balance. I think in the first half we had many chances to score. We made a big mistake in the last pass because we had really, really great space and good chances to score.

“In the second half, we conceded early a second goal, and we could do much better in this situation.

“Then with the red card, the game [went]. We tried to play from the back, but it was a really difficult game for us and for the characteristics of our players. I don’t want to comment on the referee’s decision.”

The red card was the fifth Tottenham have received at Emirates Stadium in the Premier League, their most at an away ground in the competition. They also had three previously at Highbury, Arsenal’s former home.

Conte’s team rarely turned attacking forays into clear chances and had just seven shots, compared to 22 by the home side.

“We had the opportunity to exploit much better in the first half,” Conte said. “Instead, we kept the game in the balance, and I repeat that I think we made big mistakes in the last pass and also with easy passes.”

The result meant Tottenham missed a chance to overtake their rivals at the top of the table, with Conte saying the lack of preparation time, after the international break, had made his planning difficult.

The same would have been the case for opposite number Mikel Arteta, though.

“Now we have to move on,” Conte said. “We lost against Arsenal, but we know which is our role in this league, and we have to try to do our best and try to stay close with the other teams and stay at the top.”

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