Some of Tottenham’s players are hoping that Antonio Conte gets sacked after he threw them under the bus in an astonishing rant, it has been claimed.
Conte laid into his players during an extraordinary 10-minute evisceration following their 3-3 draw against Southampton. Spurs lead 3-1 at relegation-threatened Saints on Saturday before conceding twice, including a 93rd-minute penalty, to throw away two points.
The result sparked an angry response from Conte, who tore into the players and the club’s hierarchy in his post-match press conference. He accused the players of lacking “fight” and “desire” and looking for “excuses”, while also pointedly mentioning the club’s transfer policy.
The Sun says there are a few players who want chairman Daniel Levy to act now and sack Conte during the international break. There now appears little doubt that Conte will not be manager of the club next season and the feeling is that Spurs are simply delaying the inevitable and allowing the club to drift.
Conte’s £15million-a-year contract expires at the end of June, but Levy could pull the trigger now and appoint an interim boss until the end of the season. Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League table – two points ahead of Newcastle, who have two games in hand – and have 10 matches left until the season concludes on May 28.
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Conte has flown back to Italy, with Spurs not in action until April 3, when they travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton in the Premier League. The break gives Levy and the club hierarchy time to mull over their next steps.
The Italian did not appear to be considering the implications when he ranted to supporters at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday. As well as criticising his players, he returned to a familiar topic, lamenting the club’s record in the transfer market.
He said: "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?
"Twenty 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?
"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. Excuses. Try to protect them every time."
According to Sky Sports, Conte later clarified to the Tottenham board that his comments were not intended to be criticism towards the club’s hierarchy. We will soon find out whether his explanation was accepted, with Spurs under pressure to act.