Tottenham boss Antonio Conte believes Oliver Skipp has what it takes to become a top midfielder after he starred in a 2-0 win over Brentford.
The 21-year-old put in a dominant display in midfield as Spurs won through Sergi Canos’ own goal and Son Heung-min’s second-half strike to move within touching distance of the top four.
Skipp, who came through the club’s academy system and is an England Under-21 international, has impressed Conte, who says he can take him to the top.
“This player is very young. He has a lot of space for improvement. He played with great intensity, great passion, great heart, with soul. It was important.
“He doesn’t care if he’s only 21 years old. Today he played well. I think I can improve him a lot in possession and technically. We’re talking about an important prospect. We’re very happy for him.
“For sure and he has to improve with the ball, no? In possession. This player, without the ball, he works very very hard.
“For sure, the part he has to improve is on the ball but in one month I have seen a lot of improvement about Skippy. He’s a player who wants to improve.
“The present and future depends on him. If he wants to become a top midfielder he could. But he has to continue to work. He has this will and desire to become an important player.”
Conte said that the Spurs job was his biggest challenge, but with two wins and a draw from his three games in charge, things are beginning to look up.
Keeping a clean sheet and playing with a clear structure, it was a good night for Spurs, who are now just two points off the top four with a game in hand.
“Today was a good win. To get three points is not easy against Brentford, I have seen a good team, well organised, very dangerous in set-pieces” Conte said. “But today we showed a great desire to get three points, to win.
“And we fight to win the tackles and we were very, very concentrated. For sure we can improve.
“We have a lot of space for improvement in possession. Without the ball we did very well. We put pressure from the start to the end.
“I want to see this without the ball. We have to continue to work and improve in many aspects.”
Brentford never really looked like getting back into the game and they have now lost five of their last seven Premier League games.
“In many ways I was quite satisfied with the performance, we were brave and tried to create and build on the ball,” boss Thomas Frank said.
“We lacked the final top quality to create a lot of big chances. We were very brave off the ball. We lost to a better team on the day. Despite being brave, if we want to win a game like this then we can never, ever concede a set-piece goal.
“The first goal we need to do better, that is the big moment. The second goal definitely, top quality from Tottenham, but we switch off and don’t track the runner and bang 2-0.
“We will learn from this match, recover quick and then we will be ready for Leeds on Sunday.”