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Tottenham Hotspur's Italian head coach Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match against Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Image Credit: AFP

London: Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said he was disappointed with the fans booing his side at halftime during their 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

It was not the way the Italian wanted to mark his first anniversary in charge of the north London club as Tottenham slipped down to fourth in the table.

“First of all I think we have to show a great respect all the time for our fans,” Conte told reporters. “They are our fans and they pay their tickets.

“At the same time, if you ask me if I was a bit disappointed (about the booing), yes. Because it’s important in every moment to be honest and I think I always continue to repeat, we have just started a process.

Good example

“I think after a year we have made a lot of improvement. If someone thinks after just a year we’re ready to win, I say it would be really, really difficult.

“Liverpool is a really good example that you need time and patience. If we have this everybody is okay. If not, then we can lose our passion and our enthusiasm.”

While a second successive home league defeat was painful, Tottenham did more than enough to earn something from the game with a vibrant second-half display.

Mohamed Salah had given Liverpool a 2-0 lead by halftime with a brace as Tottenham, yet again, started a game slowly.

But Harry Kane replied after the break and Tottenham went close to hauling Liverpool back with constant pressure.

Tottenham fans have been disgruntled at times this season because of a perceived lack of flair on the pitch and Conte’s so-called conservative tactics.

Last 16

But the side have qualified for the Champions League last 16 and are well-placed in the league.

Conte said his side were still far from challenging for trophies, although with Son Heung-min and Richarlison both injured they were at a disadvantage on Sunday.

“When Tottenham is missing these players it’s not like other clubs. Tottenham can’t afford to lose all these important players. We are managing the situation in the best possible way,” he said.

“I am experienced enough to be able to say that we are far from other teams who are used to winning.” The one bright spot was the return from injury of Swede Dejan Kulusevski who made an immediate impact after coming off the bench, setting up Kane for Tottenham’s goal.