Ottenham boss Antonio Conte has denied the information he offered himself to Paris Saint-Germain, calling it ‘fake news’ and ‘lies’.
It had been suggested that the Italian was interested in taking over from Mauricio Pochettino at the French champions this summer, raising the possibility of a job swap which would have seen the Argentine return to north London.
Conte’s contract runs until the end of next season, but he has repeatedly said he will discuss his future with the club at the end of the campaign, with Spurs currently locked in a battle with rivals Arsenal for fourth place.
Asked about the links with PSG on Friday, Conte said: “Obviously I think it’s good that other clubs appreciate my work. It’s one thing. But the truth is that I don’t like not when people try to invest the news, only to talk, only to create problems.
“It’s not fair, not fair for me, for the clubs involved and for my players.
“Also because we are really focused on these five games to get a fantastic result for us. I repeat, this kind of situation makes me smile.
“But I think people who want to say something about this should also show respect for everyone involved in this situation, and not make up fake news and tell a lot of lies.”
When asked if he had spoken to his players about the information, Conte added: “In this situation, whoever works in football – players or managers – knows very well that at this stage of the season a lot of fake news is starting to come out.
“We are working very hard and my players know very well that we are very focused. We talk a lot about this opportunity.
“We must live this situation with passion, enthusiasm and joy. I repeat, we deserve to stay there and fight for a place in the Champions League. A place in the Champions League is not easy for anyone.
“To stay there, you have to take advantage of this situation. For this reason, I repeat that our fans must stay with us at all times. Positive and negative moments.
“We deserve to fight until the end and get a big boost from our fans.”
Conte’s Spurs are down two points behind Arsenal with five games remaining after losing to Brighton and last weekend’s frustrating draw with Brentford.
Ahead of Leicester’s visit on Sunday, he issued a rallying cry to his players and supporters to keep pushing in the final five games.
“I want to emphasize that we are fighting for a goal that, at the start of the season, no one could imagine,” Conte said.
“Especially in November because when I arrived the situation was not good – otherwise you wouldn’t change coaches. So to arrive with five games to go with the possibility of getting this result is a big achievement for us.
“So for that reason we have to face the situation with a lot of enthusiasm because we have nothing to lose and only to gain.
“We are doing something special for the situation we have faced this season. I spoke with my players and it’s the same with our supporters, they must continue to support us and push us to the end.
“We are living this dream. We must continue to the end to have a place in the Champions League. It’s fair to point out that we are fighting for a goal that was not in our minds at the start of the season.
“For this reason, I want to push everyone at the club to have great enthusiasm, great passion, our fans to stick with us and support us from start to finish.
“If we achieve this goal, everyone in Tottenham must be happy to achieve this goal and everyone must be involved to achieve this goal.”