Conte slams ‘selfish’ Spurs, aims dig at owners
Antonio Conte has criticised Tottenham‘s players, ownership and winning mentality after they conceded a last-gasp penalty to draw 3-3 at Premier League strugglers Southampton on Saturday.
Spurs found themselves leading 3-1 with 15 minutes remaining but Southampton secured a stunning late comeback with goals from Theo Walcott and a stoppage-time penalty from James Ward-Prowse.
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The result sees Spurs remain in fourth place in the table but have played two games more than Newcastle United and Liverpool.
Following the game, Conte hit out at the players for the way they have failed to deliver throughout the campaign in all competitions.
“I’m really upset because this is not the first time and I think today I can tell you that this is an upset because we are winning 3-1 and 15 minutes to go and I think you have to win,” Conte told BBC Sport.
“Instead we showed this another time, things started to improve last season but we lost the characteristic of last season. I don’t want to talk about the technical aspect, the spirit is missing.
“We are not a team. We are a team that everyone is thinking of himself. When you are in this way that can happen, you lose against Sheffield United and drop the FA Cup and with AC Milan and to finish that run you’re winning 3-1 and the last 15 you are able to give them the possibility to come back. I don’t see the sense of responsibility of the players.
“Now it’s difficult — we are working hard with this group and to move in the right direction. We are going behind, I see a lot of negative situations and a lot of selfish situations and players that I don’t like. I know the way to beat teams, in the past I beat a lot of teams, winning teams.
“Now instead we are going behind, no one is interested in this. I have great frustration about this because me and the staff stay every day to think of a way to improve. Honestly, it’s time I have to take responsibility for me, the staff, the club but also the players.”
Speaking in his postmatch news conference, Conte also appeared to aim a dig at the club’s ownership.
“They’re used to it here. 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. 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.
“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.”
Spurs also face an important injury concern after a tearful Richarlison had to be withdrawn inside the opening five minutes.
Conte’s side face Everton after the international break on April 5.