ANTONIO CONTE hailed Richarlison for making Tottenham meaner – and was able to unleash the Brazilian in a fearsome front FOUR from the start in a couple of games.
Forward Richarlison, 25, joined Spurs from Everton in a £60m deal this summer.
His ability to get under opponents’ skin was seen as an attractive trait by Conte, who was looking to make his team more street-ready this season.
Richarlison was a complete nuisance for the Chelsea defense as he made his debut as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s fiery 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
His pest-like qualities helped Spurs fight their way back into the game when Conte caused an upset by bringing on Ryan Sessegnon in place of Dejan Kulusevski or Son Heung-min.
It meant Tottenham’s side suddenly boasted Harry Kane, Son, Kulusevski AND Richarlison in an unexpected 4-2-4 for most of the second half.
Ahead of hosting Wolves on Saturday, Conte said: “Certainly Richy is a player that has kept us focused and angry. He’s a player I like.
“He’s always thinking about the training session. I think that’s a good sign for us.
“We’re also working on the tactical aspect because the season is going to be long and there are many games that we have to play with four forwards as well.
“We ended up playing at Chelsea with Lucas Moura at full-back, (Ivan) Perisic – we’re talking about a striker in the past – Richarlison, Kulusevski, Sonny (and Kane).
“But it is important to be tactically organized.”
What Conte meant by that is that if his side want to attack like this they have to make sure they don’t stay wide open at the back.
That gung-ho approach helped Spurs get back into the game as Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg fended off Kalidou Koulibaly’s early stunner.
But it left gaps on the break, allowing Reece James to put Chelsea back in front in the 77th minute in what looked like a winner.
That was before Kane headed home Perisic’s corner in the sixth minute of added time, sparking celebrations so wild that Conte and Thomas Tuchel clashed and both were sent off.
Addressing the game with four forwards, Conte added: “The problem could be for the others (the opposition) when they have the ball, but even without the ball we must not lose our balance.
“The second goal we conceded against Chelsea I think we lost a bit of balance.
“We have to try to improve because for me during the game playing with four forwards and starting some games can be a good option.
“The most important thing is that the four forwards want to run without the ball and make sacrifices. This is very important.
“But I have players with good stamina, with good quality, and we’re working on that aspect too.”
Tottenham were once known for being a little too nice.
But that accusation can no longer be thrown at them, especially with struggling players like Richarlison and Cristian Romero in their squad.
Tuchel felt Romero should have been sent off just before Kane’s goal at Chelsea for pulling Marc Cucurella’s hair.
Romero got away with it but misses Saturday’s early kick-off with an adductor problem that could sideline him for more weeks.
Conte added: “I talk to him a lot about Cristian. He’s definitely a very strong player physically.
“He’s not scared of anyone but he definitely always has to be really focused to understand the situation, to try to keep getting better, to improve on the situations that he needs to improve on.
“But I talk to him a lot, I talk a lot to my players about being strong – but always in a good way.”
The Spurs boss appeared to suggest Romero may have overshot the mark with his hair tugging.
But overall, he’s all for his team getting meaner — because that’s a streak most winning teams possess.
The Italian added: “Being bad is very important. Very important.
“That means you have to feel your opponent’s blood and in a sporty way try to kill your opponent.
“You have to understand that if you play a game, you can also draw.
“But at the same time you have to understand if the draw is a success for you or if the draw is (like) a loss.
“If you want to have ambition, I think you only have to get three points and a draw is half a loss for me.”
Estimated cast: Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, son.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6038832/antonio-conte-nasty-richarlison-four-strikers/ Antonio Conte praises the ‘evil’ Richarlison and could unleash the Brazilian in a fearsome front four for Tottenham