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  • By Yann Tear at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

It's all about rotation, says Conte as he outlines reasons for Son benching

Antonio Conte says his decision to start Heung-Min Son on the bench is part of a strategy to ensure his squad stays fresh and avoids complacency.

The Italian is known as a hard task master and he is determined to create competition for places and to keep everyone fresh and hungry by guaranteeing no-one a start - even his best players like Son.

The South Korean responded in the perfect way, bagging a hat-trick after being introduced on the hour. He became only the seventh hat-trick sub in the history of the Premier League as Spurs routed Leicester City 6-2 to maintain their unbeaten start to the league.

"In the end a striker has to score. If a striker doesn't score, the confidence goes down, and for sure for Sonny, in the last seven games he had a lot of chances and was unlucky," Conte said of the striker's omission at the start.

"To manage these type of decisions is not easy but in some moments you have to take an important decision but if you are honest, you don't lose the respect of your players. Every decision I ever made was always for the best of the team.

"I want to bring this team to think with a superior level, not to stay in the middle. Not to stay in Tottenham because they think: 'I play every game, every game.' If it happens like this, it means that probably we are not going to fight for something important, in my opinion.

"We just started this path with the club. With the players we have it means we have the possibility of rotation. We we start 12 games in a row after the international break, then for sure I will make rotation.

"We need to have always a strong team because we want to fight for every competition. In the past I did the same, at Juventus and Chelsea and Inter Milan. In my opinion our squad is not ready, not strong, strong, compared to Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea. We have just started.

"But if the players want to play for something important - to lift trophies - they have to understand this [need for rotation], otherwise they continue to play every game, but they don't go to win anything. I want to bring this team to another level."

And he added a warning for anyone not accepting his vision.

"I repeat that if you want to stay in a team with ambition, you have to accept this situation, otherwise you have to go," said the Italian. "I don't accept compromise. I go for my way."


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