New Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte is not legally allowed to address the media until his shiny new work permit is transmitted from the United Kingdom Home Office. So in his stead, Managing Director of Football Fabio Paratici took to the podium in his place to address the media ahead of Spurs’ Europa Conference League home match vs. Vitesse on Thursday.
Naturally, very few of the questions were actually about the match, and instead focused on Conte’s appointment, what he can do at Spurs, and what the future looks like at Tottenham. Paratici’s answers were mostly boilerplate, but a one-sentence answer about transfers is likely the biggest talking point from this press conference.
Asked directly about whether Paratici has had any discussions with Conte over possible squad reinforcements in the January transfer window, Fabio responded thusly:
“Not at all. Because we trust a lot in our players. We are focused to be better, like a club, like a team.”
The initial media spin on this quote was to imply that Paratici and Conte are happy with their squad and are not planning on any January transfers, which naturally set the dumber parts of COYS Twitter into a bit of a tizzy. This isn’t, of course, what Paratici meant or even said — Fabio was clearly saying that he has not spoken to Conte because he’s only been here a day, sheesh. Anyway, the window doesn’t open for another two months so Conte’s going to have to work with the players currently at the club, Paratici thinks the squad is overall pretty good, and isn’t likely to throw his players under the bus by laying out Conte’s transfer plan within 24 hours of his arrival.
“We haven’t spoken about players, we have to be focused on our team and then we will see. I think the team is competitive, we trust in the players, we have very good players so we don’t speak about (new) players now, it is not the right time. It is not the right time.”
Otherwise, this was a pretty boilerplate press conference with Paratici thanking the outgoing staff of Nuno Espirito Santo and praising Conte, with whom he worked at Juventus.
“I worked with Antonio before but at a different club. My expectation is... I know him very well. He is a hard worker, with a lot of passion and a lot of knowledge.
“He is one of the best coaches in the world. His track record speaks for itself. It’s not my expectation. We have to be like we are, work harder and be committed.”
Also present was Tottenham club captain Hugo Lloris, who spoke about the players’ desire not to rehash the past or talk about Nuno, but to look forward to where the club can go under Conte.
“I don’t really want to talk about the past, I’m focused on the present. Obviously it was a sad situation as we don’t want to see this in the football club. Now we are focused on new days, focused on new ideas of football and we want energy from everyone at the club and we want to go together in the right direction.
“[Conte] is going to give a proper structure to the team. As players we need to demand more from each other. I think it’s a great opportunity to work under one of the greatest manager of the last few years. Now is not a time for words. it’s time to work.”
Well said, Hugo.