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Antonio Conte outburst: Who’s to blame for the problems at Spurs?

Spurs head coach Antonio Conte launched an astonishing rant after his side threw away a two-goal lead at bottom side Southampton; Conte: "I see a lot of selfish players and I don't see a team"; It is said to be business as usual at Spurs; Players expect to have a new boss next season


This was supposed to be a season when Spurs built on the progress made last season, but it has been a disappointing campaign and the latest low point was throwing away a 3-1 lead at Southampton on Saturday.

The disappointing 3-3 draw at St Mary's appeared to be the final straw for Conte and he did not hold back in his post-match press conference. But who is really to blame for what's gone wrong this season?

Here, Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge dissects that question from three different perspectives - Conte, the board and the fans.

Antonio Conte

Tottenham's head coach Antonio Conte leaves the field at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Tottenham at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England, Saturday, March 18, 2023. The match ended in a 3-3 draw. (AP Photo/David Cliff)
Image: Tottenham's head coach Antonio Conte leaves the field at the end of the his side's draw with Southampton

Conte got pretty much everything off his chest in front of the media on Saturday. We've seen it before, of course. Conte has a track record of speaking his mind to journalists when he was manager of Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Italy.

We got a glimpse of what was to come when he questioned whether he was the right man for the job after the 1-0 defeat at Burnley in February last year. He later admitted that those comments were meant to challenge the players but Saturday felt more personal.

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Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte says the club need to take responsibility for the current situation and feels that his players don't want to play under pressure.

The big question is what the club hierarchy will make of his comments. Conte has consistently told reporters he has been honest with the board, telling them what needs to be done for the club to take that next big step.

It was clear on Saturday that he is frustrated that his players often appear to get a free pass when it comes to criticism in the media but questioning their commitment could be a dangerous game despite the fact many Spurs fans think there are players at the club who are just not good enough.

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Conte can point to injury problems as part of the reason for what's gone wrong this season. Serious injuries to Hugo Lloris and more importantly Rodrigo Bentancur have not helped but every manager has to put up with players being out.

He can also point to the fact that last season's Golden Boot winner Heung-min Son has scored just six times this season.

Harry Kane is always going to get you goals but Conte knows a successful team cannot rely on just one key player no matter how good he is.

Any review of Conte's own performance this season has to acknowledge it has been a very tough campaign for him on a personal level. He has lost three close friends and had gallbladder surgery.

Only he seems to know if he will sign a new deal, but that's looking extremely unlikely right now.

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The Mirror's John Cross says the Tottenham players will find it difficult to respect Antonio Conte following his extraordinary outburst after the draw at Southampton.

The board

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy in the stands ahead of the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday March 18, 2023.
Image: Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy in the stands at St Mary's

Daniel Levy is a big fan of Conte. At the staff Christmas party, his name was mentioned throughout his speech.

It was all so positive but that seems like a long time ago now.

The board have always been were aware Conte does not like to work with long contracts and the mutual view was they would discuss an extension during this season, a season that promised so much.

Spurs were third favourites for the title last summer and they deserved to be after such a promising end to last season - three wins in a row including beating Arsenal 3-0. Levy has every right to look forward to the following season knowing he had one of the most respected and successful coaches in football in his dugout.

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Clinton Morrison and Danny Cowley assess the impact that Antonio Conte's scathing criticism of his team will have on the Tottenham players.

Of course Levy and the board have faced criticism about transfer spend and policy but they would argue that they have backed Conte. Richarlison arrived for big money from Everton, Yves Bissouma was a key player at Brighton and Conte wanted Ivan Perisic, but despite all that you could argue the most successful signing from last summer has been back-up goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

For all the money that has been spent, the defence looks woefully lacking in quality and when first-choice centre-back targets were unavailable last summer, Clement Lenglet was brought in on loan and he has failed to convince.

Fans often blame the club's leadership for the fact Spurs have won just one major trophy during Levy's time, but previous managers - plus Conte - are also to blame, especially when it comes to questionable team selection in major semi-finals and finals.

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Jamie Redknapp and Karen Carney discuss Antonio Conte's outburst following Tottenham's 3-3 draw with Southampton in the Premier League.

The fans

Just when Spurs fans thought they were heading for a relaxing two weeks off during the international break, it's suddenly all doom and gloom again. The club who were famous for the glory game are playing the blame game again.

It is amazing to think Spurs were seconds away from going into the break third in the Premier League but woeful game management when 3-1 up and a controversial penalty changed all that.

Many fans now think finishing in the top four would not be enough to make up for a disappointing and dispiriting campaign. You don't get a trophy for finishing fourth and the FA Cup defeat at Sheffield United last month was one of the defining 90 minutes of the season.

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Tottenham's players expect it is 'only a matter of time' before Antonio Conte departs the club following his post-match rant at the weekend.

Some Spurs supporters think Conte was right to speak out on Saturday. They say his criticism of the players and the board was long overdue. However, there are also many fans who believe Conte is paid more than enough to accept responsibility, change formation and get more out of the squad.

One issue all supporters can agree on is that Conte's contract coming to an end this summer has played a big part in the uncertainty hanging over the club.

How can you expect to build when the man in charge has no intention of committing his future to the club? How can you be working on summer transfers when nobody knows if Conte is staying or going?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 3-3 draw between Southampton and Tottenham in the Premier League.

Spurs fans used to mock Mikel Arteta's "trust the process" mantra at the start of his time as Arsenal manager, now they're envious of that very process.

On the day Beyoncé is due to play at what used to be called White Hart Lane, Arsenal could be parading the Premier League trophy down the road.

Ten months ago, Spurs beat Arsenal 3-0 at home. That is a very distant memory now.

As the red half of north London goes from strength to strength, Daniel Levy & Co are having to draw up contingency plans for yet another rebuild - and their 13th manager in 20 years.

Tottenham's next six fixtures...

Tottenham Hotspur's Clement Lenglet reacts to a missed chance during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday March 18, 2023.
Image: Clement Lenglet reacts to a missed chance during the 3-3 draw with Southampton

April 3: Everton (A) - Premier League, kick-off 8pm (live on Sky Sports)

April 8: Brighton (H) - Premier League, kick-off 3pm

April 15: Bournemouth (H) - Premier League, kick-off 3pm

April 23: Newcastle (A) - Premier :League, kick-off 2pm (live on Sky Sports)

April 27: Man Utd (H) - Premier League, kick-off 8.15pm

April 30: Liverpool (A) - Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm (live on Sky Sports)

Antonio Conte rant special: Hear the incredible outburst in full, plus Jamie Redknapp on why his position at Spurs is untenable

"Tottenham's story is this. In 20 years there is this owner, and they never won anything - but why?"

Hear every moment of an extraordinary post-match eruption from Antonio Conte after Spurs threw away a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 at Southampton in a special edition of Essential Football.

Are the Tottenham boss' incendiary remarks enough to see him ousted from his position? Former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp tells Sky Sports why he thinks they could be.

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