Antonio Conte criticises Tottenham Hotspur ownership and ‘selfish’ players

  • By Jess Anderson
  • BBC Sport

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Antonio Conte says ‘unacceptable’ that Tottenham are not a team

A furious Antonio Conte says his Tottenham players are “selfish” and the club “can change managers but the situation cannot change” in a scathing attack on ownership.

The Spurs boss said his team “don’t want to help each other” after a 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday.

“Tottenham’s story is this – 20 years of this owner and they’ve never won anything. Why?” Conte said.

Spurs had led by two goals at St Mary’s but conceded twice in 15 minutes.

“The fault lies only with the club or with any coach who stays here,” said Conte. “I saw the managers that Tottenham had on the bench. They risk disrupting the manager’s figure and protecting the other situation at any moment.

“Until now I’m trying to hide the situation, but not now because, I repeat, I don’t want to see what I saw today because it’s unacceptable and it’s also unacceptable for the fans.”

Tottenham have won one trophy since the ownership group chaired by Daniel Levy took over the club in 2001 – the 2008 League Cup.

They’ve had 11 different managers in that time, including three since the departure of Mauricio Pochettino in 2019, which took them to the Champions League final before being sacked six months later.

Spurs have been eliminated from all cup competitions this season as Sheffield United knocked them out of the FA Cup before AC Milan ended their Champions League hopes – and Conte said it was time for the club and players to take responsibility take over.

“Not just the club, the manager and the staff. The players have to be involved in this situation because if Tottenham want to change, it is time to change this situation,” he said. “If they want to continue like this, they can change managers, many managers, but the situation cannot change. Believe me.

“Maybe something can change before that in the other games. But we’ve been used to it here for a long time. The club is responsible for the transfer market, every coach who stayed here is responsible. And the players? The players? Where are the players?

“From my experience I can tell you that if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve that aspect. And that aspect, I can tell you, is really, really low right now. And I only see 11 players playing for themselves.”

When asked why that’s the case at Tottenham, Conte said: “Because they’re used to it here, they’re used to it. You’re not playing for anything important here. They don’t want to play under pressure, they attract it. I don’t want to play under stress.”

Spurs remain fourth in the Premier League and had a chance to move Manchester United into third place with a win over Southampton, but during his crushing post-match media conference call, Conte said if their current form continues they will be lucky to have one To secure a place in the Champions League at all.

“There are 10 games left and some people think we can fight. Are you fighting for what with that spirit, that attitude, that commitment? What? For seventh, eighth, 10th place?

“We’re 11 players going out on the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players who don’t want to help each other and don’t put their hearts into it,” he said.

“I’m not used to this position. I’m really pissed off and everyone has to take their responsibilities.”

Conte had said on Thursday he doesn’t expect to be sacked by the club after commenting after Spurs’ exit from Europe that they might decide to sack him before his contract ends in the summer.

He said the comments were “a joke” but hinted in his criticism that the club were “worse” than last season when they relegated London rivals Arsenal to a place in the top four.

“I think it’s much better to address the problem because the problem is that we showed once again that we’re not a team,” said Conte.

“To this day I prefer to hide this situation and try to speak, try to improve the spirit, the situation, with the words, with many situations.

“If I have to compare last season and this season, we need to improve, but now we are worse in that regard. If you are not a team, anything can happen at any time. Today is the last situation.

“It’s the most important thing to be a team. To understand that we’re playing for the badge.”

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