At this point, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte pretty much embodies The Simpsons gif above. He’s acting just like the television station manager character who wanted to be relieved of his duties. While only Conte can really say that for sure, what else can one think given the way he spoke of his own club, at multiple levels, on Saturday.
Conte’s team led 3-1 today, at dead last place Southampton, in Premier League competition, but blew that advantage and had to settle for a 3-3 draw. A result like that obviously felt like a defeat and when Antonio Conte spoke to the media afterward, he sounded like a man who is totally defeated for the rest of this season.
Antonio Conte ripped his own team’s ownership group, recent history as a club and roster of players. He called out his own bosses, describing Tottenham as a place where they are allergic to success and wish to avoid playing on the biggest stages. The Italian also described his own team as selfish. It was just a couple weeks ago that Tottenham forward Richarlison called out Conte and this team for the season that they are having.
The entire press conference is transcribed via Football.London at this link, but here are the most eye-opening excerpts.
Antonio Conte on the current side and their lack of high ambition, and missing team chemistry:
“We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart.
“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. We were able with a strong team, to be dropped from the FA Cup. And then a lot of situation, I repeat, that we are not going to improve. And I am not speaking about tactical aspect or technical aspect.
“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 pay to show desire. The fire in your eyes to win. If you have this, for sure, you don’t go out in FA Cup.”
Antonio Conte on Tottenham’s lack of recent success, and the culture surrounding the trophy drought:
they are used to it here, they are used to it. They don’t play for something important yeah. They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress. It is easy in this way. Tottenham’s story is this. 20 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 have 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 this is exactly why the commonly used pejorative known as “#Spursy” exists.
Antonio Conte on the team’s motivations for the rest of the season, and the future of the club:
“I want to see the fire in their eyes, in their hearts. I want to see the right spirit. Ok. Not only in the training session, on the pitch. Because here you have to make the difference. And I am not saying this. And until now I try to hide the situation but now, there are 10 games to go and some people think we can fight. Fight for what with his spirit, this attitude, this commitment? What? For seventh, eighth, 10th place? I am not used to this position. I’m really upset and everyone has to take their responsibility.
Not only the club, the manager and the staff. The players have to be involved in this situation because it is time to change this situation if Tottenham want to change. If they want to continue in this way, they can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change. Believe me.”
Tottenham head into the international break on an extreme low, and their next match isn’t until April 3 against Everton. They remain in fourth place, but both Newcastle and Liverpool have two games in hand on them.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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