Antonio Conte says he’s happy at Tottenham but, ‘Don’t forget that I’m used to fighting to win the league’

Storm clouds may have been hovering over Tottenham this afternoon but Antonio Conte would tell you that they are the result of Storm Eunice not the comments he made to Sky Italia earlier this week.

Four months into his reign in north London Conte was to be found noting the numerical weakening of his first team in the January transfer window in one interview, seemingly talking down Spurs’ chances of a top four finish to “one percent” in the next. Little of what he said was factually incorrect — Tottenham let four first team players leave in January while signing two and most statistical models suggest they are not favorites to scramble into the Champions League places — but it was not received particularly well inside or outside the club.

Indeed, it may be the last time he sits down in front of Italian TV cameras for quite some time. Conte confirmed that Tottenham do not want him to speak to representatives from his homeland over fear of mistranslation. After all, it is not the first time in recent weeks that Sky Italia have caused ructions in the British capital; it was to them that Romelu Lukaku expressed his reservations over Thomas Tuchel’s tactical plan at Chelsea.

Yet Conte’s issue is not with the media in his homeland, rather those who attempt to drive a wedge between Tottenham managers and chairman Daniel Levy.  “I think I was very, very clear. I don’t understand why someone wants to try to create a problem between me…and also in the past.

“I read a lot of stories in the past about this club, creating a lot of problems between the coach, the chairman and the club. The chairman knows very well my thoughts. It’s not important for me to go to the media. If I have to tell him something he knows very well that I go and speak to him.”

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.

Those conversations with Levy would not appear to have seen him express any inclination that he might be regretting joining Tottenham. Having rejected them in the summer there has always been a sense that Conte might have his eyes on bigger prizes than just a top four finish. In this regard he does not always help himself.

“Don’t forget that I’m used to fighting to win the league” was among his earliest statement when asked to address his interview. That is certainly a statement that could be read as coming from a man who believes he is doing Tottenham a favor.

He might even be right. A three game losing streak has rather blotted his copy book but the simple reality is that since his appointment Tottenham have taken 1.8 points per game, the joint third best record in the league with Arsenal. In that period they have the third highest expected goals tally, their shot count has increased by 43 percent and key players such as Harry Kane seem reinvigorated.

Though Conte might have admitted to being taken aback by the scale of this task, he did tell Sky Italia that he was enjoying his work. Today he offered the same message. “I’m enjoying my time at Tottenham and working with the players. I’m always saying this.” There are those who might suggest that the more times you have to tell someone you are happy the less credible the message becomes. Equally it is not as if Conte is venturing these statement unprompted. He was asked if he was happy. He said he was (after something of a pause).

How happy he will be come Saturday evening is up for debate. Conte has lost three games in a row and even he did not seem entirely convinced his side, whose preparations and travel plans were disrupted by the record storms that battered the U.K. on Friday, would be able to stop that becoming four away to a rampant Manchester City on Saturday.

“This is a game between two teams, a team that is now maybe the best in the world, almost perfect. They are in a fantastic period of form. On the other side is a team that is trying to build something important for the future. Two different levels in this moment.

“We prepared the game very well. We know tomorrow we are going to suffer. We know tomorrow, like in every game, Manchester City will keep the ball 70, 80 percent. In the 20 percent we have to be effective. If we want to have a good result against City in this moment we have to be perfect without the ball and we have to know that we have to suffer, but when we have the ball we have to try to find the situation to try to hurt them.”

Lose and his side could find themselves 10 points off Manchester United in fourth with Arsenal and West Ham also facing more winnable fixtures this week. The one percent chance that Conte says is all he needs to feel like he can be the fight for something may be the statistical reality of Spurs’ top four chances.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button