Antonio Conte said Tottenham still need time to become a European force after bowing out in the last 16 of the Champions League 1-0 on aggregate to AC Milan after a 0-0 draw on Wednesday.
A European elimination hot on the heels of an exit from the FA Cup means Spurs’ 15-year wait to win a trophy will extend for at least another season.
Conte’s return to the touchline failed to inspire a response from his side as Tottenham were toothless in attack and had to play the final 12 minutes a man down as Cristian Romero was sent off for two bookable offences.
“I’m really sorry for the fans, but we cannot invent the win or to hope for a miracle one day that a trophy goes into our training ground,” said Conte.
“We have to build and have patience. I understand the fans don’t have patience as for a long time Tottenham is not winning.”
Victory over two legs takes Milan into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012.
“We deserved this result, even though we could have scored more,” said Milan striker Olivier Giroud.
“We showed quality, spirit, and we could have won tonight as well.”
Kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes after the later arrival of both sides due to traffic congestion, but it took far longer for the contest to get going.
Conte was back in charge after taking more time after the first leg to recover from gallbladder surgery.
The Italian was his usual animated self and was shown a yellow card by referee Clement Turpin for his protestations at a booking for Clement Lenglet.
However, his players lacked the same energy as Spurs failed to rise to the occasion. Read more