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Antonio Conte: Tottenham boss says he must accept Spurs not challenging for major titles

Antonio Conte's Spurs contract expires at the end of the season; Tottenham have slipped out of the top four after four defeats in seven PL games; watch Crystal Palace vs Tottenham on Wednesday live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 7.30pm; kick-off 8pm

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Antonio Conte says fans have to have 'realistic' expectations after Tottenham Hotspur suffered their fourth loss in seven Premier League games

Antonio Conte says if he is to remain as Tottenham head coach, he must accept that his task is to develop the club, not challenge to win the Premier League and Champions League.

Spurs dropped out of the top four after being beaten 2-0 at home by Aston Villa on Sunday - their fourth loss in seven Premier League games - while they have also fallen 14 points behind leaders Arsenal as the season nears its halfway point.

The experience of being all but out of the title race so early in a season is a largely unfamiliar one for Conte, who has won four Serie A crowns with Juventus and Inter Milan, along with a 2016-17 Premier League title in the Italian's first campaign at Chelsea.

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Speaking ahead of Spurs' trip to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, which is live on Sky Sports, Conte said: "Here, I understood that my task is different. My task here is to help the club to build a solid foundation, to create a base, and then to try to improve.

"If you ask me, 'is the challenge to win the Premier League, the Champions League?' This is not the task here for this moment.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win against Tottenham in the Premier League

"The task for me is to help the club. I signed a contract in November [2021] and I found the club in a difficult position, for many reasons. My task, I understood very well, is to try to help the club to go in the right direction or to come back in the right direction.

"About the choices of the players, about the work, to organise and create a foundation - this is my big challenge here, and I have to accept that if I want to stay here. Otherwise, if I don't want to accept this, I have to go."

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Conte, whose Spurs contract expires at the end of the season, hit out after Sunday's defeat at the "crazy" expectations around his side and claimed the club need to be signing two players worth £50-70m every season if they are to become serious title contenders.

Despite Spurs holding an option to extend Conte's contract by a year, the fact that talks last month between club and coach did not result in the announcement of a new agreement means his future remains in doubt.

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Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte says he was misunderstood in his comments following the game against Aston Villa

Conte added: "At the start, for me it wasn't easy, but then, I think this is an important experience. I accept to do this because I found a great club, for this reason I'm happy to work here.

"I found the people that want to be positive and to try to create, I found people that know which is their reality, and for this reason I accepted this. Otherwise, if these people tell me, 'we are to win (the Premier League now)', I'd say, 'sorry but this is not the right moment to think that in one year you are going to win.'

"Now, my big challenge is to continue to work strongly with my staff, with the players, to improve the club, to create a solid foundation. If I'm satisfied to continue to do this work and one day to see the result, I will continue to stay. If I'm not convinced 100 per cent, then I can leave my work here, but it's a big work we are doing together."

Spurs want a forward and a wing-back in January

Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth:

Tottenham are in the market for a forward and a wing-back in this transfer window.

Longer term, they want to bring in a left-sided central defender and will pursue a deal in the summer, with Clement Lenglet's loan spell from Barcelona up at the end of the season.

A player Tottenham are looking at is Bayer Leverkusen's Piero Hincapie, who is an Ecuador international, but Napoli are also keen on the 20-year-old.

Redknapp sees cracks between Conte and Levy

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp fears cracks are appearing in Conte's relationship with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and feels the Spurs head coach may even be looking to engineer his exit from the club.

Asked in the Sky Sports studio whether he believes the club will meet Conte's demands on Super Sunday, Redknapp said: "£60-70m every year? No, that's not how Daniel Levy works.

"That's not the kind of business they want to do. They want to buy good young players, improve them and then try to sell them on.

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Jamie Redknapp, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Graeme Souness discuss Antonio Conte's frustrations and Tottenham's chances of finishing in the top four

"It doesn't make up for the fact they were poor today. No (Dejan) Kulusevski, who has been important, or (Rodrigo) Bentancur, who has been instrumental.

"But I don't like the way this is shaping up, with Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy. I can see cracks appearing, (Mauricio) Pochettino in the wings, I don't feel this is going to end up the way it should do.

"I'm a big Antonio Conte fan but I think there's going to be a fallout pretty soon."

In addition to mentioning the availability of former Spurs boss Pochettino, who is currently without a job following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, Redknapp said he feels Conte is provoking Levy.

"For Levy to change how he's done it for many years, it's just not going to happen. The more you provoke him, the more you're going to upset him.

"He's definitely searching for something right now, Conte, and it looks like he's looking for an exit clause.

"Levy will hate that kind of message being sent to him. Conte is very emotional but that's typical.

"They want the best for the club, it's his club, his team, his passion."

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