Antonio Conte aims ‘selfish’ dig at Richarlison after brutal interview

What has gone wrong for Antonio Conte at Tottenham as trophy drought continues

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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has insisted that Richarlison was ‘selfish’ in his brutal assessment of proceedings after the north Londoners were knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan in midweek. The Brazilian forward, who is yet to score in the Premier League so far this season, launched into a verbal tirade against Conte by claiming that he did not understand his manager’s decision to bench him after using him as a starter in training in the build-up to Wednesday’s goalless draw.

“Yesterday, they asked me to take a test at the gym, that if I was good I would go to the game and, at the time of the game, they left me on the bench,” said an emotional Richarlison after the full-time whistle against AC Milan.

“These are things that it is not possible to understand. Let’s see what he will say tomorrow, but there are no fools here either, I’m a professional, I work every day and I want to play. When I enter the field, I give my life. I came from two games well. I should have played. This season, sorry for the word, it’s been s*** because I don’t have minutes.”

Conte was asked for his thoughts on Richarlison’s no-holds-barred interview in Friday’s press conference and branded the striker’s viewpoint as ‘selfish’ but revealed that the matter has been put to bed after receiving an apology in advance of this weekend’s Premier League meeting with Nottingham Forest.

“He didn’t criticise me, he said his season was s*** and he’s right, his season has been not good,” replied Conte.

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“He had injuries, played and scored in the Champions League and then went to the World Cup and then had a serious injury. He’s scored no goals for us. I think he was really honest to say his season was not good. His season has not finished yet. If he deserves to play I’ll give him the opportunity.

“For the rest of the interview, I think he made a mistake. When you speak of ‘I’ and not ‘us’ you are being selfish. I say to my players if we want to build something important and win a trophy we have to speak with ‘we’ not with ‘I’, because otherwise you’re thinking of yourself.

“He made a mistake and he apologised and it was good for me to clarify with the team again about this. In this aspect we have to improve. We have to be more of a team and show more spirit positive, especially in negative moments. Sometimes it’s not enough to be a good guy.”

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Conte was also quizzed on what the future holds for him at Tottenham, with the 53-year-old yet to agree an extension to his current deal before it expires at the end of the season, but refused to give too much away when asked to explain his stance on the topic.

“In this moment, the most important thing is to be focused on the league,” he added. “You know what is my opinion, what is my desire. I say to you a lot of times that the situation that I have found, and we are far to aspire to be competitive to fight to win. I repeat this for a long time. We need time and patience.

“I see the environment has no patience or the environment does not want to see the reality. The club knows very well what is my situation and they know what are my thoughts. We can’t do miracles. If I am to take the people as a target. I am not this person.”

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