Antonio Conte has spelled out the “psychological work” he has been performing on his Tottenham players in a bid to turn them from trophyless near-missers into serial winners. The main lesson he has been trying to hammer home to his stars is that they need to “suffer” whenever they lose.
Otherwise they are liable to fall into runs like the three successive Premier League defeats they had suffered before the weekend.
Saturday, or course, was very different with the 3-2 win over Manchester City at the Etihad and unsurprisingly the club’s Enfield training ground has been buzzing ahead of the trip up to Burnley.
But Conte says he needs to feel a very different vibe when the result is a bad one – otherwise he fears his players are not “feeling” it enough.
It is the secret, he insists, to the sort of winning mentality that has seen his own career as a player and a manager littered with silverware.
“You have to suffer …. if you don’t suffer, it means that you don’t want to improve your winning mentality,” he said.
“The situation has to be different when you win and when you lose.
“Otherwise if the atmosphere is always the same and it’s always joy and celebrations, I think it will be very difficult to install the right mentality, the winning mentality, in a team. I repeat – always in a balance.
“We lost two games against Wolverhampton and Southampton and then we won against City.
“The first step to change your mentality is after a loss … you have to understand that you lost a game.
“That is different and for sure the atmosphere has to be different.”
Tottenham, he feels, are slowly beginning to get the message but at the most successful teams in Europe the impact of defeat is much more noticeable.
“When you are in a club that is used to winning, what happens when they lose?” he said. “For example, Bayern Munich. They were dominating this season in Germany and then they lost 4-2 in the league at Bochum and then they had a 1-1 draw in the Champions League at Red Bull Salzburg.
“I read that the players were very, very, angry. They said: ‘No. We can’t continue this way. We have to be strong.’ And you show you are feeling that.
“I think that slowly, slowly the players here are understanding this difference but it is very clear in top clubs.”