Antonio Conte shows Tottenham board he means business ahead of north London derby


Having peaked after a particularly disappointing defeat, Antonio Conte took no punches about the quality of his squad and the club’s difficult position.

“These players have won nothing and lack experience,” Conte said. “We have very limited a team in terms of numbers and quality.

“Some players have to be on the field constantly and in the long run, you pay for it. I am angry, because it nullifies all good deeds.

“We are in an emergency situation with only three players getting injured, while the other teams have got injuries and are not even aware. We saw

“We can’t let our current position at the table hide the problems there.”

Conte’s remarks could easily apply to Tottenham in 2022, but actually came after Inter Milan’s 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in November 2019.

Eighteen months later, Conte led Inter to their first Serie A title in more than a decade, breaking Juventus’ nine-year stranglehold on the scudetto.

As the head coach pressures Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici to improve their squad before the end of the month, it is worth remembering that Conte’s frustration with his working conditions has led to his current job. is not unique.

Dramatic statements about the quality of their players as a way to put pressure on decision-makers are an established part of the Conte playbook, as Levy, and in particular managing director Paratisi, who worked with the head coach at Juventus, were told Must be aware.

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However, that’s not to say that Spurs should take Conte’s warnings lightly, especially given their history of acting on their frustrations, but one should take any note of the Italian’s recent diatribe about the status of his squad. Shouldn’t be surprised.

Inter responded to Conte’s demands by signing Christian Eriksson and Ashley Young ahead of a bumper summer spending spree in January 2020, which included the arrival of Achraf Hakimi, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal as well as preparing their title push .

The danger is that Spurs are not in a position to recruit a string of superstars and, clearly, there is a risk that the situation could go awry if the market does not support Conte.

Reports from this week suggested some players already fear Conte could walk away from the club if he does not have a successful window and, while off his reported £15million-a-year contract While turning back is a remote possibility, Conte is capable of creating a whole lot of stink if he feels the promises have been broken.

The 52-year-old effectively switched his path at Chelsea during the summer of 2017 as the club missed out on a succession of his favorite goals before an expensive divorce a year later.

After signing an 18-month contract with Spurs in November, Conte could have easily made the rest of his contract an uncomfortable experience for Levy and Paratisi.

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These are still purely hypothetical scenarios, but Conte’s recent observations suggest that he was not prepared for the scale of reconstruction at Tottenham.

Conte said before Wednesday’s defeat, “When you are at the club, you have the opportunity to understand the situation very well because you have every day working with the players, seeing the structure, everything about the club.” There’s a chance to see it.” to Chelsea. And [from the] Outside, it’s difficult.”

Whatever the reality of the situation inside the club, supporters will likely weigh in on Conte if his tenure turns sour over transfers, which only adds to the pressure on Levi and Paratici.

Encouragingly, Conte is unbeaten in eight league games, but a loss to Chelsea in two stages of the Carabao Cup semi-finals exposed his team’s shortcomings and gaps for the league’s top clubs.

His behavior on the touchline and in the press conference has become markedly more vulnerable, adding to a sense of foreboding, although there is a danger in reading too much into the body language of a coach who hates to lose and humiliates four of his most important players. Was missing on Wednesday due to injury

Conte’s mood will improve significantly if Spurs beat a weakened Arsenal in Sunday’s north London derby, a sport that feels a more relevant barometer of Spurs’ progress and prospects than meetings with the European champions.

Despite Conte’s concerns, the first derby match since a 1-1 draw in March 2019 is when Champions League football feels a real possibility for both clubs.

Last season Spurs finished seventh and Arsenal eighth, and although they were only five and six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, neither the quality nor the consistency was enough to raise serious hopes of a return to the top four.

Conte’s quick recovery at Spurs and Mikel Arteta’s gradual rise at Arsenal have both clubs – and the derby itself – feeling a return to real relevance.

But while Arsenal will certainly point to a list of missing players in the event of a poor result, a first-league defeat for Conte will raise alarm bells and his manager’s public dismay in the deciding half of the transfer window.