Antonio Conte: After calling players ‘selfish’ and criticizing club culture, manager leaves Tottenham Hotspur
By Ben Church and Homero De la Fuente, CNN
Tottenham Hotspur says it has parted with manager Antonio Conte “by mutual agreement” less than two years after he took over at the English Premier League club.
Tottenham is currently fourth in the Premier League table, two points clear of Newcastle with the top four clubs clinching a spot in next season’s Champions League.
In Conte’s first year with the club, Tottenham qualified for the Champions League in 2021-22 but was beaten by AC Milan in the round of 16 earlier this month.
The club was also eliminated from the FA Cup after a loss to second-tier Sheffield United on March.
“We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place,” Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement released by the club Sunday.
“We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our Club and amazing, loyal supporters.”
The decision comes after Conte’s scathing analysis of the team following its 3-3 draw against Southampton on March 18.
A furious Conte, who joined Tottenham in November 2021, targeted the players’ attitude, the ownership and the culture of the club in an emotional post-match media conference after his side threw away a two-goal lead.
“For me this is unacceptable. We are winning 3-1, in control and concede two goals,” Conte said after the match.
“I think it’s better to go into the problem, we are not a team. We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart [into it]. This season compared to last, now we are worse in this aspect. When you are not a team you cannot improve.”
“It is easy in this way,” added Conte. “Tottenham’s story is this. 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 stays here. I have seen the managers that Tottenham had on the bench.”
Spurs have won a trophy in the last 20 years — the League Cup final in 2008 — and also reached the Champions League final in 2019, before losing 2-0 to Liverpool. However the club last won a top-English title over half a century ago.
Cristian Stellini will take over as acting manager at Tottenham for the remainder of the season, while Ryan Mason will assume the role of assistant head coach.
Conte has yet to comment on his departure from Spurs.
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