Antonio Conte’s first league game in charge ended in disappointment, after Tottenham were held to a goalless draw by Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Spurs had played out an enthralling encounter with Vitesse in the Europa Conference League in midweek in what was the Italian’s first match since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo, although the clash on Merseyside was lacking in entertainment with both sides struggling to create chances.
In an even first-half, the best opportunities fell arguably to the wrong men, with wing-back duo Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon both squandering chances at the back post, as the visitors struggles in front of goal continued.
The game’s defining moment came midway through the second-half when the Toffees were initially awarded a penalty following a collision between Hugo Lloris and Richarlison, only for the decision to be somewhat controversially overturned following a VAR review.
With the game approaching the closing stages, substitute Giovani Lo Celso then struck the post, before Everton’s Mason Holgate was handed his marching orders in stoppage time for a high challenge on Pierre-Emile Hojberg.
The away side couldn’t make the most of that man advantage in the final few minutes, however, as they were forced to settle for a point under their new manager, with the former Chelsea boss having seen his side fail to register a single shot on target.
Speaking after that frustrating result – which leaves Spurs in ninth in the table – Conte admitted he was ‘not happy with a draw’, albeit while praising the ‘fight’ of his new side.
“Goodison Park is always a dangerous place for the team that comes here to play against Everton and today, I must be happy. I have seen the right will, the right will to play a game and where the spirit on the pitch was very high, the atmosphere was very high,” Conte told Spurs official website.
”I have seen many, many tactical situations that we tried in only three days (preparation). For sure, we have a great space for improvement, but you have the heart, or not.
”You have the passion, or not. Today, I understood that these players, when there is a situation where you have to fight, they are ready to fight, and this is very good.
“Honestly, usually, I’m not happy with a draw but I know this is a big challenge for me and for us to try together to build something important.
”We needed to have a start, and this is a good start – a win against Vitesse, we are in the competition with the possibility go through, and to be an important team in the competition – and after this draw, we must be closer to fourth.”
Tottenham are next in action at home to Leeds on Sunday 21 November, following the upcoming international break.
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