Antonio Conte told Mike Arteta to stop complaining and focus on his team after Tottenham’s 3-0 victory over 10-man Arsenal in the North London Derby on Thursday.
In his post-match press conference, the exasperated Spurs boss hit out at Arteta, saying his counterpart was complaining too much for a manager who ‘has just started doing this job’ and added that the decision to kicking out Rob Holding’s was “clearing”.
Conte’s comments came after Arteta refused to discuss referee Paul Tierney’s decisions, saying he would be “suspended for six months” if he said what he really thought.
Tierney awarded Spurs a penalty, converted by Harry Kane for 1-0, and sent off Holding for combined fouls on Heung-min Son before the England captain’s second goal. Son scored a third second after the interval as Spurs moved a point behind their fourth-placed rivals with two games remaining.
“I think Mikel Arteta is a very good coach,” Conte said afterwards. “He’s just started doing this job and I think I hear him complaining a lot. I think he needs to focus more on his team and not complain.
“Because he has just started his job and I think he has to be calm and try to keep working. Because he is very good but listening to a coach complaining a lot of times is not good. But that goes, the red card for me was clear.
Conte, who also had advice for Liveprool boss Jurgen Klopp this week, added he could have complained that Fabinho escaped a booking for two fouls in Spurs’ 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday and reminded Arteta that the derby had originally been postponed to Arsenal. asked in January – despite the Gunners having just one Covid case in the squad.
“Don’t forget, against Liverpool I didn’t say anything about what happened with Fabinho, a lot of time, because if we want to complain, we have the possibility in every game to talk about the referee , of the decision, of the postponed game, I think that’s the advice if you want to take the advice,” Conte continued. “If you don’t, I don’t care.
“If you remember [Arteta] complained about the editing. It is not good to complain. Arsenal were good at postponing a game in an incredible way with Covid and they only had one player with Covid. I haven’t forgotten that. If he wants to complain, we have plenty of room to complain.
“Now today I can complain why I have to play Sunday lunchtime and Arsenal have to play Monday night. And they still have a day off. We’ve played Leicester, Liverpool, Arsenal and now after only two days we have to play and we have to play the first game at 12.
Conte admitted the initial postponement was a motivating factor for Spurs, who can leapfrog Arsenal if they beat Burnley at home on Sunday, with the Gunners not playing until a visit to Newcastle on Monday night.
“Of course it was not a good situation because we were ready to play at that time and seeing the game postponed in a strange way made us angry,” he said.
“But that’s the past, the present is different. I said in the press conference that I prefer to play against Arsenal with all their players available because if I have to beat Arsenal they have to play with all their players.
“I think my players were maybe a bit angry for the first leg as well, because we lost 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium. And then I repeat: an important goal tonight.
“Only winning the game would continue the possibility of keeping hope of finishing in the Champions League places.”