Antonio Conte's furious attack on 'selfish' Tottenham players and ...
Antonio Conte launched a stinging attack on his ‘selfish’ Tottenham players and the culture at the club following their collapse against Southampton.
The north London side threw away a two-goal lead at St Mary’s as the Saints rescued a point late on in a thrilling 3-3 draw – and it prompted an extraordinary outburst from Conte after the match.
Spurs are now in danger of missing out on Champions League football for next season, despite currently occupying fourth spot.
Newcastle, Liverpool and Brighton all have games in hand over Tottenham, who continue to be plagued by inconsistent performances.
Conte failed to hold back following the full-time whistle, as he lambasted his players, before asking why the club haven’t been successful under chairman Daniel Levy.
The fuming Italian said: “The problem is we have shown we are not a team. We are 11 players.
“I see selfish players. I see players that don’t want to help each other, don’t play with heart.
“It is the same every season, no matter who the manager is. They’re used to it here.
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“Don’t play for something important. They don’t want to play under pressure. They don’t want to play under stress.
“Tottenham’s story is this. Twenty years there is the owner and they never won something but why? The fault is only for the club, or for every manager that stay here. I have seen the managers that Tottenham had on the bench. You risk to disrupt the figure of the manager and to protect the other situation in every moment.
“Until now I try to hide the situation but now, no, because I repeat I don’t want to see what I’ve seen today because this is unacceptable and also unacceptable for the fans.
“They follow us, pay the ticket and to see the team another time to have this type of performance is unacceptable. We have to think a lot about this.”
And when asked by talkSPORT’s Alex Crook whether his players are fighting for him, he stated: “They have to play for the fans, for the club out on the pitch, not for me.
“They have to play to show that they are a team, they have to play to have the right spirit, sense of belonging and to show they have a responsibility for the badge, not for me or my staff.
“It’s one year that we are continuing to try and transfer this message, but I think that they are not understanding.
“Maybe we are not so good at transferring the message, or maybe they are not so good to play at this level.”
Conte gave a series of interviews emphasising his views that the players deserve to take accountability for another season without silverware.
Tottenham have only lifted one trophy since Levy and the current ownership took over in 2001.
They were recently knocked out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United and by AC Milan in the Champions League to consign them to another season without silverware.
He said: “If I have to compare last season and this season, we have to improve, but now we are worse in this aspect. When you are not a team, anything can happen, in any moment.
“Today is the last situation. Don’t forget that in FA Cup we lost to Sheffield United, who played with young players. With a strong team, we were dropped from the FA Cup.
“A lot of situations, I repeat, not going to improve. And I am not speaking about tactical aspect or technical aspect.
“[It’s] about being a team, being a team, being a team. It is the most important thing. To understand that we play for the badge. We have to play to make our fans proud of us. We have to play to show desire. The fire in your eyes to win: if you have this, for sure, you don’t go out in FA Cup. Today, you win.
“We have to play to make our fans proud, we have to play to show desire. Here we’re used to it for a long time. The club has the responsibility for the transfer market, every coach that stayed here has the responsibility. And the players? The players? Where are the players?
“In my experience, I can tell you that if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve this aspect. And this aspect, I can tell you, in this moment is really, really low. And I see only 11 players that play for themselves.”
Reacting to Conte’s epic rant, former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor said: “Conte he’s fed up. You can see in his interview that’s he’s fed up against bottom of the league. He’s got experienced players like Dier, Romero, Hojbjerg there, Kane and Son.
“He has enough to hold on. Southampton had 19 shots. 50 per cent possession and seven shots on target.
“Conte is fed up of defending his guys. He is looking at them and saying ‘I’m done. I’m going to hammer the club, hammer Daniel Levy and everything about them’.
“He’s probably got his private jet ready, fuelled up, and ready to leave for Lake Como on Monday morning.
“He doesn’t want to be at Spurs. Mourinho was there and couldn’t win anything, Poch yes he got to a final but couldn’t win it.
“15 years since you won a trophy, he’s fed up. He went to Inter Milan and won the title.
“The players he had could go out and put in performances. He’s fed up of them.
“If he had anything about him then Daniel Levy would sack him tonight.”