Antonio Conte strongly defends Tottenham’s style of play – ‘I’m not stupid’


Bristling Antonio Conte offered a strong defense of his Tottenham management following Saturday’s loss to Arsenal, insisting he is ‘not stupid’ and can ‘teach a lot of people football’ .

Speaking in Germany the day after Manchester United lost 6-3 to rivals Manchester City, Conte dismissed suggestions that his tactics were negative, ostensibly saying he had never conceded ‘six, seven or eight “as a manager.

He also defended his selection decisions after being told fans were wondering if summer signing Djed Spence, 21, would have a chance following Emerson Royal’s dismissal at the weekend.

The Brazilian will be suspended for league games against Brighton, Everton and United, being shown a straight card as Spurs crumbled to a 3-1 defeat at home to their rivals, their first domestic loss of the campaign.

Emerson has started all but one of Spurs’ 10 games this season, the 6-2 win over Leicester when Ivan Perisic changed flanks, with Conte largely ignoring his other two right-backs, £15m signing Spence and Matt Doherty.

“Fans have to be fans,” Conte said ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game at Eintracht Frankfurt.

“The fans are the fans, I understand that they can think everything but I see every day what happens during the training session.

“I try to do my best for the team. If they trust me, then they trust me, but the choices are mine. If I haven’t decided on a player, maybe -be because he is not ready.

“We are talking about a young player with a good prospect [Spence], but I repeat that I try to choose the best team. Also Doherty last season played every game.

“Now I don’t see it in the right way to start the game. I’m not stupid, I don’t want to lose. I try to put the best team, pick the best team. If they trust me , it’s ok, if they don’t trust me, then I’m the coach and I have to make the best decision for Tottenham.”

Arsenal had 65 per cent possession and 22 shots to Spurs’ seven at the Emirates, and Conte was also asked if he was frustrated by the perception that his side were negative.

“No, I think for the characteristics of the players, we have to defend situations, and if we could have exploited the situation, especially the last passes, we could have scored many goals against Arsenal,” said the Italian.

“Instead, we made very big mistakes for the last passes because we had the opportunity to go one-on-one, but each team has to think and understand how to play different games.

“Then I repeat last season we won 3-0 and the same way when you lose you have to explain and when you win the opponent has to explain, but for me it’s important to try to have a plan, to put my players in the best possible situation to exploit their characteristics.

Conte insists on his way of playing with Tottenham

/ Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

“Otherwise it can happen that you can concede six, seven or eight goals, in England it happens a lot. In my career that has never, ever happened and I don’t like to play open and concede a lot of space and concede six, seven or eight goals.

“In England it happened many times. I won in England and then I won in my past and I think I can teach a lot of people football.”

Conte will be without Dejan Kulusevski at Deutsche Bank Park but the striker could return from a hamstring strain against Brighton at the weekend or in the reverse fixture against the Bundesliga side a week away on Wednesday.

Conte also revealed Lucas Moura will be out “for a long time” with inflamed tendons, but said he trusted 21-year-old striker Bryan Gil, who has yet to make an appearance this season.

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