Antonio Conte believes Tottenham are still far from the Premier League title challenge despite having enjoyed a challenging transfer window.
The North London club have strengthened their squad considerably since securing a spot in the top four on the final matchday of last season, bringing players the likes of Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic and Clement Lenglet.
The Spurs have started the new season brilliantly, collecting 11 points in the first five Premier League outings.
If they were to avoid defeat to Fulham on Saturday, Conte’s men would have remained unbeaten in the first six games of a Premier League season for only the third time, having done so in 2004-05 and 2016-17.
However, while Conte says he is satisfied with the Spurs’ work in the market, he believes his team has a lot to do to push the country’s elite.
“I think we have to understand that in this transfer window we have done what the club could do,” he said on Friday.
“I think we have done some good things, but I have to be honest with you because if I see the other top teams there is too much distance.
For this reason we must know that we have just started this path to improve the squad.
“We tried to do it in January with [Rodrigo] Bentancur and [Dejan] Kulusevski and we have tried to do it in this window on a numerical and qualitative aspect.
But to be competitive and to fight to be a contender for the title and to try to get a place in the Champions League, it takes at least three more transfer windows to improve and be at the same level as the other clubs.
“I am sure we are going the right way for the club’s ability to invest money right now.
“We have to be realistic to understand that there are clubs that can invest different money and other clubs that can invest normal money. Certainly the path is tough for this aspect.
“We want to keep improving. I am happy to have this group of players and the new players are inside the team and in the locker room. We did the right things, but we have only just started, if anyone thinks that we have completed the situation, we are very far from this”.
Tottenham have earned praise for completing several deals early in the window, but Conte doesn’t believe this will give them an edge over richer rivals.
“If you sign a £ 80 million or £ 100 million player on the last day you have a big advantage, because it means you’re hiring a top player,” he added.
“You can also sign players for free or on loan, and it’s a different situation. I want to be very clear about that.”
After beating local rivals Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League last season, Spurs return to Europe’s premier club competition when they host Marseille on Wednesday.
Conte said Spurs’ congested schedule will be a crucial test for their position, adding: “The season starts now for a club like us playing in the Champions League, because in the Europa League and Europa Conference League you can afford to make big rotations. .
“But in the Champions League you have to play a strong team and this is a more difficult task. This is a good opportunity for me and for the club to understand if we are missing something.”