Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has said he and his players “want to win the Champions League and the Premier League” as they prepare to start their league season by hosting Southampton.
Spurs finished last campaign very strongly to pip rivals Arsenal to Champions League qualification, and exciting new signings such as Clement Lenglet from Barcelona and Richarlison from Everton have heightened expectations.
Conte himself is setting lofty targets for this season.
“We want to win the Champions League and the Premier League,” he said. “I think my target and the club’s target is to try to continue to improve, to develop the process we have started seven months ago.
“We have to try to develop in every aspect, because my experience tells me that we are going in the right direction.”
Conte’s team open their campaign against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton, who finished 15th last season and just five points above the relegation places.
The Saints won 3-2 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in February, but Hasenhuttl has warned his players that they will have to be at their best if they want to repeat that victory on Saturday.
“It was a great game, for sure, one of our best last season,” the 54-year-old Austrian said. “But there’s nothing older than success from yesterday, so you have to do it again. We have to show again we can compete, we will have to have a nearly perfect game to get something there.”
The Saints have signed Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia from Manchester City this window, while Europa League final scorer Joe Aribo has also arrived from Rangers.
Hasenhuttl will be hoping the new boys can bed in quickly and achieve a better finish than last season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tottenham – Heung-min Son
The South Korea international shared the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah last season after scoring 23 Premier League goals. He would love to be back in contention for that award again this season, so a goal or two on the first day of the season would be a great start.
Southampton – Joe Aribo
Aribo scored in the Europa League final for Rangers last season, while a brilliant solo goal against Villarreal in pre-season for the Saints was widely shared on social media. He would love to show more of his scoring touch in his first ever Premier League game against Spurs.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This will be the fourth occasion Tottenham Hotspur have opened a league campaign against Southampton, with Spurs winning two and drawing one of the three previous games – although it will be the first played in London.
– Southampton have picked up just three wins from their last 20 away Premier League games against Tottenham Hotspur (D2 L15), winning in this exact fixture last term. In fact, they have lost more away Premier League games versus Spurs (17) than against any other side in the competition’s history.
– This is Tottenham’s first home Premier League game at 3pm on Saturday in 973 days, since beating Burnley 5-0 in December 2019. It is the first time they have begun a Premier League campaign in this kick-off slot since 2001-02, a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
– Southampton have won just one of their last 12 league games (D2 L9), beating Arsenal 1-0 in April. Saints have lost each of their last four in the Premier League, last having a longer losing run in January/February 2021 (6).
– Only Alan Shearer (14) and Andrew Cole (11) have scored more or as many Premier League goals against Southampton than Tottenham pair Harry Kane (11) and Son Heung-min (10).