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Antonio Conte said Tottenham will have to make “an assessment” on his position at the club in a stunning interview after a run of four defeats in five Premier League games.
Conte’s side were beaten 1-0 at Burnley on Wednesday in the Premier League, meaning they remain seven points off the top four.
After the match, the Italian said: “It was a difficult night. It’s not only tonight, in the last five games we lost four games. It means there will be [an] assessment about the club, about me, because I think for me it is very frustrating to lose four out of five.
“For sure the situation speaks clear. I am really sorry for the fans, I am really sorry because I think they don’t deserve this. But when you lose four out of five it means the club have to make an assessment, also to speak together, and to understand which is the best solution.
“In this situation the players are always the same in this club, the club change coaches, but the players are the same, but the result doesn’t change.
“I repeat, I am too honest to accept this type of situation, and for sure we will make an assessment with the club, because I repeat, it is not right, it is not right, it is not good for everybody to continue to lose and I can’t accept this. It’s not good for nobody.”
Conte raises doubts about Spurs future
Conte questioned whether he is the right man to manage Spurs and suggested he could quit before the end of the season, telling the BBC: “I came here to help the club and if the problem could be the coach I’m ready to go, no problem.”
The Italian also said: “I think that we are doing everything to try to improve the situation, but maybe it is not enough. It is very frustrating, this is the first time it has ever happened in my life. Maybe I am not so good.
“I think Tottenham called me to improve the situation, but I am too honest to close my eyes and to continue to tell, ‘I want to finish the season in this way, but my salary is good’. I am not this type of person. I have ambition.
“I hate to lose and we lost four out of five games. For me, I repeat, this is unacceptable.”
‘I am not helping the club’
Though Spurs are still only three points from fifth place with games in hand on a number of sides around them, Conte said their form was closer to that of a side battling relegation.
Conte said: “On Saturday we play another game [Leeds at Elland Road], it’s the moment to see the situation and make an assessment, really frustrated, not used to seeing these situations. I’m trying to do everything but the situation is not changing.
“In the last five games, we are playing like we are in relegation, this is the reality, maybe there is something wrong. I want to take responsibility, if I have that, I’m open for every decision, I want to help Tottenham from the first day I arrived. Also to take my salary. It is not right at this moment.
“In this moment it is not important to speak about mistakes or other situations. The reality is we lost four out of the last five. With this situation, we would have to fight for the relegation zone if we continue this way.
“I repeat, it would be important for everybody to understand the situation, because for sure you have to make assessment of the club first of all, and I repeat I am available to the club for every decision.
“I repeat, I come here to help the club, but in this moment it is very difficult, because I am not helping the club, and for me it’s a very, very frustrating situation.”
‘I am doing a lot, but it is not enough’
The defeat at Turf Moor came just four days after the high of Saturday’s 3-2 win away to Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Asked why his messages are not getting through, the 52-year-old replied: “We are working very hard, every day, and for this reason it is very frustrating, the situation.
“When you work hard and you see in the last five games you lose four games, the situation makes me frustrated a lot. For the work that we are doing, I don’t deserve and we don’t’ deserve this, but it’s the reality.
“I am sorry because I repeat, I don’t like this situation. We are trying to change, but the reality is in the last five games we have lost four times.
“Maybe the people have to make an assessment, and I am available for every decision for the club, and to help the club.
“I am doing a lot for the club every day, but it is not enough. For this reason, I think now is the right moment to make an evaluation for the club.”
Questioned about his personal situation at Spurs, he said: “For sure, I have to speak with the club.
“It is not normal for Tottenham to lose four out of five. It is not normal, and for sure it is right to speak, to have a conversation with the club and to find the best solution.
“At the moment, the situation is not good.”
Analysis: Unpredictable Conte won’t stick around if winning isn’t possible
Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:
“The worry for Tottenham is that Antonio Conte is one of the most unpredictable and decisive men in football when he’s not winning.
“Exhibit A. Juventus 2014. Following his sudden departure, he was quoted as saying: “It may be more difficult to keep winning with Juventus” as he blindsided the Turin club with a pre-season exit.
“Winning is difficult. It comes with a lot of effort, especially in a club like Juventus where there is the obligation of victory, but I showed I’m a winner,” he said before his surprise decision.
Exhibit B. Inter 2021. After helping Inter become Serie A champions for the first time in 11 years, Conte left a financially struggling club because they were not able to build on his success. He wanted more investment in a squad that included an impressive Romelu Lukaku, but Inter needed to sell. Conte saw what was coming and negotiated an exit.
“His honest appraisal of Tottenham once again shines a spotlight on Daniel Levy and the club as a familiar theme emerges in north London.
“If Conte walks, and he has made clear all options are on the table, it would be disastrous for Levy having worked so hard to convince an elite coach of this calibre to join.
“There is a train of thought that Conte is simply laying the groundwork ahead of what will be a crucial summer at Hotspur Way. He knows he’s in a strong position. Leaving Spurs will not harm his reputation, but it would invite more pressure on Levy and ENIC from a disgruntled club fanbase.
“A departure would also throw fresh doubt over the future of England captain Harry Kane who is fully behind Conte’s methods and, like the Italian, is desperate to win trophies.
“The former Italy boss has communicated to the club what changes are required. It includes bringing in more experienced players in the summer. He needs players ready to help the club compete with the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea immediately.
“In his last title-winning season at Juventus, only Paul Pogba was under the age of 25. At Inter, he had Lautaro Martinez (23), Achraf Hakimi (22) and Nicolo Barella (24) but still relied heavily on his older players.
“Conte’s biggest strength is his ability to win, but is spending money on more experienced players realistic at Tottenham in the current market? Only Levy will know the answer to that but the worry for him is that Conte takes the extreme option before the season concludes, especially with the prospect of Champions League football drifting further away.
“One thing is for sure. History tells us Conte won’t be around for long if winning isn’t possible.”
Tottenham’s last five Premier League results
Chelsea (away) – lost 2-0
Southampton (home) – lost 3-2
Wolves (home) – lost 2-0
Man City (away) – won 3-2
Burnley (away) – lost 1-0
Tottenham’s next five Premier League games
Leeds (away) – Sunday February 26, kick-off 12.30pm
Everton (home) – Monday March 7, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Man Utd (away) – Saturday March 12, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Brighton (away) – Wednesday March 16, kick-off 7.30pm
West Ham (home) – Sunday March 20, kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports