Antonio Conte sends Tottenham fourth-place warning as rivals prepare to spend big in January

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The Italian boss challenged his players to make the mentality that digs them out of trouble the norm in north London, after another scrambled comeback at Brentford.

Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sealed a 2-2 draw at the Gtech Community Stadium, after Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney had put the home side in control.

A 14th point claimed from a losing position this term kept Spurs in fourth place in the Premier League – but Conte will demand more from his side now the World Cup is done and dusted.

The former Chelsea boss also warned his players that a clutch of big sides are languishing down the league with points to prove in the coming weeks and months.

“A winning team, you can’t build in one year,” said Conte. “Two years; you have to change mentality, you have to change also many situations, many aspects to become a winner.

“For sure I have a group of players that show me great ability. I think last season we made a big achievement to finish in the top four.

“But I have just told them now that in this top four now, there isn’t Chelsea, Liverpool and [Manchester] United. And for sure for the rest of the season, we are talking about big, big clubs with great possibility to go into the transfer market to spend money.

“For this reason we have to try to pay attention to the environment, but I can tell that I need to have patience, because you cannot just win, especially – I repeat – if you are not winning for many years.”

Kane hit back from his World Cup penalty heartache with England to spark Spurs’ comeback draw. The 29-year-old drew top praise from Conte, who nonetheless still wants Spurs to sharpen up their overall mental approach.

“Harry came back very well, in a good physical condition, he rested for three, four days, then he had a programme to follow,” said Conte.

“When he came back he was good, and you know very well the importance of Harry for us. His personality, his character for us is very, he’s an important player, the best player that we have.

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“I’m happy also that he scored today. He showed a great desire to score and to give us the chance to come back. If we want to be aggressive then you have to take some risk, but we are trying to work under this aspect to win duels.

“If we want to go to press high, play with that intensity, it’s important to win duels, then the second ball, we are working.

“On one hand I’m disappointed for the two goals we conceded, on the other hand I’m happy for what we did, and for the reaction for what we did in the second part of the game.

“This group of players have shown many times great character. But my question is why do we have to go behind so many times in this league in order to show that character? We should show that character from the first second of the game until the end.”

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