Antonio Conte goes scorched earth on Tottenham

Antonio Conte reacts at the end of the match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on March 18, 2023. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

When a player not-so subtly declares themselves a fan of a certain team, some refer to their admiration as a “come-and-get-me” plea.

What Antonio Conte did following Tottenham’s draw against Southampton was more of an “I dare you to fire me” demand.

The former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan manager took aim at everyone at his postmatch press conference, clearly frustrated at his team blowing a two-goal lead and the way this season is going.

For me, this is unacceptable,” Conte said. “We are winning 3-1, in control and concede two goals.”

He then wasted no time in laying into his players.

“I think it’s better to go into the problem, we are not a team,” Conte said. “We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart. This season compared to last, now we are worse in this aspect. When you are not a team you cannot improve.”

It’s worth noting that Richarlison recently came out and criticized his manager for lack of playing time.

He took it a step further and took aim at ownership and the club as a whole.

“They’re used to it here,” Conte said. “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 nothing. 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.”

Most, if not all, Tottenham fans will likely agree with Conte’s criticism of the ownership. In a way, they’re still paying for firing Mauricio Pochettino after they failed to back him following the season where Spurs reached the Champions League final.

They’ve burned through a handful of managers including Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho and now Conte.

However, Conte isn’t blameless. The squad has a lot of talent and he simply hasn’t been able to get the best out of them, producing some dismal football in the process.

Spurs sit fourth in the Premier League table but Newcastle and Liverpool are within striking distance with games in hand. Whether or not they do finish in the top four, Conte is more than likely to get the axe come the end of the season. A scenario he seems more than prepared for.

“It is time to change this situation if Tottenham want to change,” Conte said. “If they want to continue in this way, they can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change, believe me.”