Tottenham throw away two-goal advantage over bottom Southampton; Spurs were 3-1 up with 16 minutes to go but James Ward-Prowse’s injury-time penalty salvaged the Saints’ 3-3 draw; Spurs coach Antonio Conte: “I see a lot of selfish players and no team”
19:42, UK, Saturday 18 March 2023
Furious Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has attacked his “selfish players” for not wanting to play “under pressure” in an extraordinary post-game rant after throwing away a two-goal lead at bottom-placed Southampton.
Spurs led 3-1 at Saints with 16 minutes to go and looked on course to finish third, but they conceded twice late when James Ward-Prowse’s injury-time penalty saved a 3-3 draw for the home side.
Conte tells Sky Sports after the 3:3: “The situation we’ve been living in for the last month isn’t that good.
“And I’m not used to seeing that kind of situation. I see a lot of selfish players and I don’t see a team.”
He added in his post-match press conference, which lasted 10 minutes: “We’re 11 players going on the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players who don’t want to help each other and don’t put their hearts into it [in].”
Tottenham’s collapse at St Mary’s Caps was a miserable march for the club, who were knocked out of both the FA Cup and Champions League earlier this month to leave them trophyless since 2008.
When asked why this is happening in his post-match press conference, the Italian replied: “Because they’re used to it here, they’re used to it. They’re not playing for something important, yes.”
“They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress. It’s easy that way. Tottenham’s story is this.
“Twenty years has the owner and they’ve never won anything, but why? The fault lies only with the club or with any manager who stays here.
“You risk disturbing the figure of the manager and protecting the other situation at any moment.
“Until now I’m trying to hide the situation, but now, no, because I repeat, I don’t want to see what I saw today because it’s unacceptable and also unacceptable for the fans.
“They follow us, pay their ticket and want to see the team one more time. That kind of performance is unacceptable. We have to think a lot about it.”
Conte: You can change managers, but the situation will not change
Conte’s Spurs contract expires this summer and there is growing belief he will leave before the end of the season.
Sky Sports Expert Jamie Carragher believes the 53-year-old’s outburst is a sign he wants to be fired.
He tweeted: “Conte wants to be sacked this international break. Spurs should just put him out of his misery and do it tonight.”
Asked if the ambiguity over his future has affected the squad, Conte pushed back on yet another “alibi” for his underperforming players during an impassioned monologue.
“They find an alibi, another alibi,” he said. “You’re trying to find an excuse for the players.”
He added: “The club has a responsibility for the transfer market. Every coach who stayed here bears the responsibility and the players? The players? Where are the players?
“In my experience, I can tell you that if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve that aspect and that aspect, I can tell you, is really, really low at this moment.
“And I only see 11 players playing for themselves.
“There are 10 games left and some people think we can fight. Are you fighting for what with that spirit, that attitude, that commitment? What? For seventh, eighth, 10th place? I’m not used to that position .
“I’m really upset and everyone has to take their responsibilities. Not only the club, the manager and the staff, the players have to be involved in this situation because it is time to change this situation if Tottenham want to change.
“If they want to continue like this, they can change managers, many managers, but the situation cannot change. Believe me.”
Conte: We’re going backwards
The draw at Southampton dashed Tottenham’s top-four hopes as Conte’s side are now just two points clear of fifth-placed Newcastle, who have two games to go.
Conte tells Sky Sports: “If I have to compare this season and the improvement we’re making this season compared to last season, I think that instead of improving the situation, we’re losing the work we did last season.
“I’m not talking about the tactical aspect, I’m talking about the spirit, the sense of responsibility about the heart that we have to put on the pitch.
“Today you win against Southampton 3-1 and you feel the perception; my perception is that anything can happen at any moment. And to be afraid, afraid of what [might] happen.
“The players, the players have to take responsibility because I don’t like what we’ve seen in the last month. I don’t like it.”