Antonio Conte believes Tottenham remain a long way away from challenging for the Premier League title despite enjoying a busy transfer window.
The north London club have strengthened their squad significantly since securing a top-four finish on the final day of last season, bringing in the likes of Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic and Clement Lenglet.
Spurs have made a bright start to the new campaign, picking up 11 points from their first five Premier League outings.
Should they avoid defeat against Fulham on Saturday, Conte’s men will have gone unbeaten through their first six games of a Premier League season for just the third time, having previously done so in 2004-05 and 2016-17.
However, while Conte claims to be pleased with Spurs’ work in the transfer market, he believes his side have much to do to push the country’s elite.
“I think that we have to understand that in this transfer window, we did what the club could do,” he said on Friday.
“I think that we did good things, but I have to be honest with you because if I see the other squads of the top teams, there is too much distance.
“For this reason, we have to know that we have just started on this process to improve the squad.
“We tried to do it in January with [Rodrigo] Bentancur and [Dejan] Kulusevski and we tried to do that in this window on a numerical and quality aspect.
“But to be competitive and to fight to be a title contender and to try to get a place in the Champions League, you need at least three transfer windows more to improve and to be in the same level as the other clubs.
“I’m sure that we are going in the right way for the capacity of the club at this moment to invest money.
“We have to be realistic to understand that there are clubs who can invest different money and other clubs that can invest normal money. For sure, the path is hard because of this aspect.
“We want to continue to improve. I am happy to have this group of players and the new players are inside the team and inside the dressing room. We did the right things, but we have just started, if someone thinks we have completed the situation, we are very far from this.”
Tottenham earned praise for completing several deals in the early stages of the window, but Conte does not believe that will give them an advantage over wealthier rivals.
“If you sign a player £80million or £100m on the last day you have a big advantage, because it means you are signing a top player,” he added.
“You can sign players also for free or on loan, and it is a different situation. I want to be very clear on that.”