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Conte praises Tottenham’s ‘character’ for thrilling fightback

Antonio Conte has hailed Tottenham’s “big character” as they staged a thrilling fightback to draw 2-2 at Brentford, as the Premier League returned in style after the World Cup break.

In the first Premier League fixture since mid-November, Conte’s side were in danger of a damaging defeat after Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney put Brentford in command on Monday at the Community Stadium.

But Harry Kane netted to start the Tottenham recovery in his first game since missing a crucial penalty in England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat against France.

“My assessment about the second part of the game was really good. It was an exciting game. I like to win every time but I know very well it is not possible,” Conte said.

Brentford have not beaten Tottenham since 1948 and their long wait for a victory over the north Londoners goes on after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalised with 19 minutes left.

“Since last season we have made a good step. Now we have to continue to push ourselves. It is not easy. We have shown big character.”

Race for the Champions League

Tottenham stay fourth in the table, four points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Tottenham had conceded 11 goals in their previous five league games and they shipped another one after just 15 minutes in west London.

For a ninth successive game in all competitions, Conte’s men had conceded the opening goal.

READ MORE: Mourinho sacked as Tottenham Hotspur manager

Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris was rested following France’s World Cup final loss, so Fraser Forster started in goal.

Forster’s Tottenham league debut got off to a rocky start as he weakly pushed Mathias Jensen’s volley straight to German midfielder Janelt, who bundled home from close-range.

Tottenham were in trouble when they were punished for sloppy defence.

With Tottenham in disarray, an immediate response was required and Kane delivered in the 65th minute.

Clement Lenglet’s pin-point cross picked out the England captain and he rose to power his header into the far corner.

It was Kane’s 196th Premier League goal but his first against Brentford which means he has now scored against all 32 teams he has played against in the league. 

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