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‘Selfish players, Tottenham’s story’ – Antonio Conte launches remarkable rant against Spurs after Southampton collapse

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte has, late on Saturday, launched a frankly staggering tirade against none other than his own club.

This, of course, comes after Spurs were responsible for yet another embarrassing collapse earlier in the day.

After surging into what looked an insurmountable 3-1 advantage late in a trip to St. Mary’s to face Southampton, the Lilywhites, inside the closing quarter of an hour, fell apart.

This ultimately culminated in Theo Walcott’s 77th-minute finish being added to by way of a James Ward-Prowse leveller from the penalty spot deep into injury-time.

The spoils, in turn, were shared.

And, as alluded to above, one man on the Tottenham side of things who could not help but allow his complete and utter disillusionment to get the better of him post-match comes in the form of manager Antonio Conte.

Check out the remarkable rant, in its entirety, below (with credit to Alasdair Gold for the quotes):

‘I think that it’s the right moment to speak because I think that after this performance, for me this is unacceptable. We are winning 3-1, in control of the game and you are able to concede two goals and to risk, because also Fraser made a fantastic save in one situation. I think it’s much better to go into the problem, because the problem is that for another time we showed that we are not a team.

‘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.

‘Before today I prefer to hide this situation and to try to speak, to try to improve the spirit, the situation, with the words, With a lot of situations. Because about tactical or technical aspect, this is one situation. The most important thing if you want to become a strong team, if you want to become competitive, if you want to fight to win, is the desire, the fire that you need to have in your eyes , in your heart, and you have to show this in every moment. In every moment.

‘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. 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. Today you win.

‘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. And today we’d win. Maybe previously in the other games something can change. But 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.’

On his future and the prospect of moving on:

‘You are finding an alibi, another alibi. You try to find an excuse for the players. OK, continue to do this, to find an excuse for the players. You do only this! You do only this. Excuses for the players. ‘But the players, maybe, my future, then we lost confidence, they lost spirit, they lost being a team’. Excuses. Excuses. Excuse. Try to protect them every time.

‘Bah. Come on, come on, come on. We are professional. The club pay us a lot of money. The players receive money, me receive money, you understand? Not to find excuse or not show spirit or show a sense of belonging or don’t show a sense of responsibility because we are showing this. For me this is unacceptable because for me this is the first time in my career to see a situation like this. Until now I wasn’t able to change, not to change but compare to last season the situation went to become worse.’

On ‘why’ such woes seem to constantly befall Spurs as a club:

‘Why? Because 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.’

Lastly, on what changed from a dominant victory over Nottingham Forest last week:

‘I said that I wanted to see the fire, not that I have seen. It is different. I said that 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.’

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Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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