‘Something in your job was wrong’

ANTONIO CONTE has come out swinging yet again in defence of his style of play.

The Tottenham boss was heavily criticised by Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool were left frustrated during a 1-1 draw at Anfield last weekend.

Antonio Conte has hit back at Jurgen Klopp after the Liverpool boss’ criticism of Spurs’ tacticsCredit: The Times

Conte’s men had just 35 per cent possession, and Klopp raged afterwards: “I don’t like this kind of football. I think they’re world-class, and I think they should do more for the game.

“The game plan works for these games but they’re still fifth, so that’s how it is.”

The German coach has since backtracked on his stinging remarks, but Conte has made sure he has had the final say once more.

It was only in February that Pep Guardiola labelled Conte’s Spurs a “counter attacking team” as Manchester City lost 3-2 at the Etihad.

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The Italian hit back on Instagram posting a video of all three of their goals and the caption: “Counterattacks?!? Maybe not…” followed by three crying-laughing emojis.

And ahead of Tottenham’s crucial North London Derby with Arsenal tomorrow on Thursday, Conte put Klopp in his place when asked to respond to those comments.

He said: “Jurgen is an intelligent person, he’s very clever. He was a bit frustrated after the game.

“At the same time, for us, for a top coach and for every coach, it’s important to learn that after the game it’s important to be focused on your team, not your opponent.

“To be focussed on your opponent, it means you want to find an excuse or alibi because your job didn’t work or something was wrong.

“Honestly, for the coach it’s not simple, it’s not easy after the game. You have to try to keep a cool head.

“If you remember this season I was disappointed for a bad result and I was disappointed with myself, with my players, when we lost against Burnley.

“Sometimes we’re a bit frustrated, especially when you arrive at the end of the season and you understand that a bad game and a bad result can change the target for you.

“We analysed the Liverpool game the day after, and for sure if there was a team that deserved to win and created the chances to win, it was Tottenham not Liverpool.

“In this game, I think Klopp understood he gained one point not lost two points. I have great respect for Jurgen and I know he respects me a lot.

You speak about your own problems

Antonio Conte

“But this is a good chance for him, for me and all the coaches to learn that during the game you never speak about your opponents.

“It’s important to be focused on your team and the situations where you can maybe do better. You speak about your own problems.”

Tottenham’s game against Arsenal is a potential top four decider – a win for the latter confirming their return to the Champions League.

It should have taken place on January 16 only for the Gunners to have it postponed due to an alleged Covid outbreak.

Conte was left fuming after it emerged that Mikel Arteta’s Covid crisis should not have warranted the game being moved, according to Premier League rules.

Asked how frustrating it is that the fixture is now being played at such a crucial moment of the season, Conte added: “To speak now about what happened in the past is not useful.

“For sure, it was very strange that our game was postponed for Covid and Arsenal didn’t have one player with Covid. At that time, it was unfair what happened.

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“But now this is the past and we have to be focussed on the present and try to get the best result.

“I think football is wonderful. This type of game, it’s right to play with two teams and all the players available.”


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