It culminated in a particularly disappointing defeat, and Antonio Conte didn’t hit any blows over the quality of his team and the club’s difficult situation.
“These players have not won anything and are lacking in experience,” said Conte angrily. “We have a very limited team…in terms of number and quality.
“Some players have to be on the field constantly and in the long run, you pay for it. I’m angry, because that takes away all the good work.”
“We are in an emergency situation with only three players injured, while the other teams have injuries and you don’t even notice. We note.
“We cannot let our current position on the table mask the problems that exist.”
Conte’s comments could easily apply to Tottenham, but they actually came after Inter Milan’s 3-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in November 2019.
Eighteen months later, Conte led Inter to their first Serie A title in over a decade, breaking Juventus’ nine-year grip on the Scudetto.
As the manager increases pressure on Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and club managing director Fabio Paratici to improve his squad before the end of the month, it is worth remembering that Conte’s frustration with his working conditions is not unique to his current kind. Profession.
Dramatic statements about the quality of his players as a way to put pressure on decision makers are a constant part of the playbook, as Levy and especially Paratici, who worked with the head coach at Juventus, should be aware of.
This does not mean, however, that Spurs should take Conte’s warnings lightly, particularly given their history of acting on his frustrations, but no one should be at all surprised by recent Italian rhetoric about the state of his team.
Inter responded to Conte’s demands to sign Christian Eriksen and Ashley Young in January 2020 ahead of a plentiful summer spending spree, including the arrival of Achraf Hakimi, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal to prepare for their title.
The danger is that Spurs are not in a position to recruit a string of superstars, and there is clearly a risk that the situation could become chaotic if Conte is not backed in the market.
Reports this week suggested some players already fear Conte could walk away from the club if they don’t have a successful window, and while backtracking on his £15m-a-year contract is a remote possibility, Conte is perfectly capable of causing stench. If he feels promises have been broken.
The 52-year-old effectively worked his way up during the summer of 2017 at Chelsea, with the club missing a string of his favorite goals, before an expensive divorce a year later.
Having signed an 18-month contract with Tottenham in November, Conte will be fully able to make the rest of his contract an uncomfortable experience for Levy and Barracci.
These are still purely hypothetical scenarios of course, but Conte’s recent comments suggest he has not been prepared for the scale of rebuilding at Spurs.
“When you are at the club, you have the opportunity to understand the situation very well because you have the possibility to work with the players every day, to see the structure, to see everything about the club,” Conte said before Wednesday’s defeat. for Chelsea. “And [from the] Outside, it’s tough.”
Defeats against Chelsea in two of the Carabao Cup semi-finals revealed the shortcomings of Conte’s squad and the gaping hole that has plagued the top clubs in the league.
His demeanor on the touchline and in press conferences became noticeably more pessimistic, adding to the sense of danger, although there is the danger of reading too much into the losing-hate coach’s body language and losing four of his most important players. due to injury on Wednesday.
Conte’s mood would improve dramatically if Spurs beat a depleted Arsenal in the north London derby on Sunday, a match that appears to be a more important barometer of Spurs’ progress and prospects than encounters with the European champions.
Despite Conte’s concerns, the match is the first derby since a contentious 1-1 draw in March 2019 when Champions League football felt a real potential for both clubs.
Last season Tottenham finished seventh and Arsenal eighth, and although they were just five and six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, respectively, they had neither the quality nor the consistency to raise serious hopes of a return to the top four.
Conte’s rapid improvement for Spurs and the gradual rise of Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, both clubs – and the derby itself – feel a return to real importance.
But while Arsenal certainly point to a list of players missing in the event of a poor result, Conte’s first league defeat would raise alarm bells and frustrate their general manager in the crucial half of the transfer window.