‘This is an issue we have to face with the club’: Antonio Conte remains coy over his Tottenham future as he eyes showdown talks with bosses to decide ‘the best solution for us’ amid poor run of form
- Tottenham have suffered three defeats in their last five Premier League matches
- Doubts have been raised over Antonio Conte’s long-term future as head coach
- Conte said very little when quizzed about his future as Spurs boss on Tuesday
- But the Italian is keen to hold talks with club officials over how to move forward
Antonio Conte said very little when quizzed about his future on Tuesday, though the reluctance to open up spoke volumes.
As Tottenham ready themselves for talks with their head coach next month in hope of persuading the Italian to sign a new contract, Conte’s non-committal comments will raise already significant concern that those discussions won’t be straightforward.
‘This is an issue, this is a topic we have to face with the club,’ answered Conte when asked about his future.
Antonio Conte remained coy over his future at Tottenham in a press conference on Tuesday
‘We have to focus on the present and try to do our best. This season will be more difficult than last season because after the transfer market you have seen many, many teams have spent a lot. You have to face a lot of big teams.
‘For sure it will be the time to speak with the club. To understand what is the best solution for us.
‘Since November, now after one year I understood a lot of things. The first moment for me was really difficult to understand. Now I understand very well what our situation is, what is our position, what is our starting point, how long is our path to be competitive and to fight for something important.
‘Now for sure my knowledge about Tottenham is more complete. For this reason I will be prepared for the moment when we speak with the club and understand what is best for the future.’
Spurs slumped to their third defeat in five Premier League matches vs Newcastle on Sunday
There are question marks over Conte’s long-term future as the north London club’s head coach
This is Conte’s way. Tottenham knew that when they appointed him as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor last November, though you’d forgive the club for believing – or at least hoping – that Conte would exude more positivity when making public declarations regarding his future following the success of the past 11 months.
As Conte put it so abruptly today ‘we were in the Conference League and were in trouble’ when he took over.
Of course, Conte took a similar approach to discussing his future at the end of last season before ultimately deciding to stay in charge. So there should be little surprise that Conte continues to play his cards close to his chest.
But while Conte was less forthcoming about his future, his reaction to assertions that Chelsea and Manchester United are in a transitional period were more forthright.
When asked by Sportsmail that there was an opportunity to capitalise on Liverpool’s difficulties, and the fact Chelsea and United are working under newly-appointed managers, Conte’s response was compelling.
‘I am surprised you are asking about Man United and Chelsea being in transition,’ said Conte.
‘If Chelsea are in transition after they won the Champions League two years ago and last season they won the World Cup?
‘United two years ago finished second. If these clubs, that can invest a lot of money are in transition, I don’t know who are the title contenders?
‘Maybe we have a different vision. It’s good to have different opinions.
‘In November we were ninth. We were playing Conference League. And you think United and Chelsea are in transition? With [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Raphael] Varane, [Jadon] Sancho, in transition? I hope to be in transition this way. I hope so.
But Conte also pointed to how far he has taken Spurs forward in 11 months at the club so far
‘I have been here 11 months. You can change the coach but when you arrive and you find a group of players that won the Champions League two years ago, last season the World Cup for teams, maybe you find an important squad with players that won a lot.
‘In transition for the coaching and the squad are two different situations.’
It’s a fascinating argument that you’d imagine was designed to take the pressure off his team following two straight losses – but also turn the spotlight onto his rivals.
As Conte approaches his 12 month anniversary at Tottenham, his remain in their own transitional period.
How far down the line Conte believes his team are in that process, and what resources the club are willing to commit to accelerate that development will be key towards whether he signs.