Spurs News

‘I think I was very, very clear’ – Conte hits back with ‘problem’ claim after controversial interview


Antonio Conte has questioned those trying to “create a problem” between Tottenham Hotspur and himself after clarifying his controversial recent comments, informs the TeamTalk.

In a recent interview to the Italian media, Conte appeared to question Tottenham’s transfer approach. Always a demanding manager in the market, he saw his squad decrease in number during his first transfer window in north London.

In January, Tottenham signed Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus. Departing were Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil, among others.

Conte explained that the club are looking for young talents. In contrast, he wants proven players. Therefore, given his previous record at other clubs, some started to develop fears about his future.

But back with the English press, Conte has now drawn a line under what he said. The Spurs boss believes his comments were somewhat lost in translation. His use of the word “important”, which can have a slightly different meaning in Italian, may have caused some particular confusion when referring to player exits.

He now insists he is happy at Tottenham, although there have been repercussions since his interview.

He told a press conference: “During the interview after the transfer window, after January ended, they asked me about the club, if I was happy, and I said the club did the best that the club could do.

“We lost four players and I said important players for Tottenham, because these players that we sent away on loan, Tottenham paid a lot of money. When you spend a lot of money, it means we are talking about important players for the club.

“To pay attention to the future because we need players used to playing in this league and in my last interview, I said numerically, when you lost four players, important players for Tottenham, I repeat because they spent a lot of money, and you sign two players.

“If I had 20 players and now I have 18 players numerically, you can be a bit weaker… numerically. Then I said also with Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur, as a squad we are more complete. I think I was very, very clear.

“I don’t understand why someone wants to try to create a problem with me. Not only me but also in the past. I read stories in the past about this club and it creates a problem with the coach and the chairman and the club.

“The chairman knows very well my thoughts. It’s not important for me to go to the media and speak to the media. If I have to speak with him, I go to speak with him.

“Sorry but I was a bit disturbed by this situation, especially because I had an interview with the Italian media. It means the club now doesn’t want me to speak to Italian media because the translation was not so clear with my thoughts.”

Conte added: “I always said I’m enjoying my time with Tottenham, enjoying working with these players. I always said this.

“Then we have four months at the end of this season and we have to try to do our best to finish in the best place possible in this league and then we’ll see.”

The situation does not calm down for Conte, though, as he now has to prepare his team to face the reigning champions Manchester City.

Spurs are away at the Etihad Stadium for a 5:30pm kick-off on Saturday. After suffering three consecutive Premier League defeats, it is not the easiest task from which to get back on track.

Providing some team news, Conte said: “[Eric] Dier is available, fit and OK. [Oliver] Skipp’s working, getting better but he’s not ready. [Japhet] Tanganga is the same.

“We have recovered Steven Bergwijn because three days ago he had a little problem in his calf but now he’s available. So only two players are not available for the game against City.”

Conte later increased that tally to three when reminded of one Covid case among the squad.

It does not help his preparation for a game against what he feels is one of the best teams in the world.

He said: “We’re talking about a fantastic team. They’re working with the same coach for many years.

“They have the possibility to, also in these years, go into the market and spend a lot of money.

“For sure, Pep [Guardiola] is doing a fantastic job but in every club that he trained he had fantastic results. Important clubs, because Barcelona is an important club, Bayern Munich is an important club, now Manchester City is an important club.

“But for sure great compliments to him, because to play against his team is not simple, not easy for anyone.

“I think they’re the best favourite to win the Premier League; to be ahead 10 [points] means in this league you’re very very strong. Also in the Champions League you have seen their last game; to go away and win 5-0 against Sporting Lisbon means you are a perfect team, in your hands.”