After Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor today, a match played in terrible weather conditions, Antonio Conte spoke to reporters and questioned whether he’s the right person to lead Tottenham to glory.
The loss at Burnley was Spurs’ fourth loss in its past five matches, and took almost all of the luster off of Saturday’s huge win over league-leading Manchester City. Even so, Conte’s comments were spoken with his heart on his sleeve as he questioned his leadership of the club and wondered if the club needs to do an inquest as to his performance thus far.
Antonio Conte says the Club will now have to make an assessment about his future after a defeat to Burnley tonight. pic.twitter.com/z2QLaiEKZX— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 23, 2022
“I don’t want to comment on the game. I wasn’t to comment only on the situation. In the last five games, we lost four times. This is the reality. Not performance, not space no space.
“The reality is this. That we lost four games of the last five. No one deserves this type of situation – the club, me, the payers and fans, but this is the reality. I came in to try to improve the situation in Tottenham but maybe in this moment, I don’t know, I’m not so good to improve the situation.
For me, it’s very frustrating because I know we’re working hard, working a lot and trying to get the best out of every single player. The reality is this. I’m too honest to close my eyes and say: “OK on Saturday we’re going to play another game”. It’s right at the moment to see well, what is the situation well and to make an assessment. Also I repeat: I’m really frustrated and I’m not used to being faced with this type of situation.
“But the problem, I repeat: I’m trying to do everything to change the situation but the situation is not changing. Someone has to speak about the race for the fourth place, and the reality from the last five games is we have to pay attention to not fight for the relegation zone.
“This is the truth. this is the reality, and when this type of situation happens, maybe there is something wrong. I don’t want to close my eyes, I want to take my responsibility, if I have the responsibility. I am open, I am open for every decision because I want to help Tottenham.”
Conte is and always has been a person who is, for lack of a better term, emotional. We also know that Conte absolutely HATES to lose. That combination probably explains his exits from his past few clubs — when something happens that he doesn’t like, he ends up with an extreme emotional response, and those responses can govern his future actions.
These comments aren’t great. They just aren’t. It’s hard reading Spurs’ head coach, whom the club just appointed in November. actively questioning whether he’s the right man for the job during a rough spell. That kind of overreaction is not going to lead to a whole lot of measured takes from Spurs fans who are already jittery over the way the season has gone thus far.
That’s why I’m here.
Look, if we’re going to put a positive spin on this, and I think we should, then that spin is this: Conte’s emotional outburst here doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) signify anything more than that he just really, really hates losing. He’s upset, he knows his team just had a stinker against a team that had only won two matches all season. He’s lashing out, because that’s what he does.
But in doing so, Conte is ignoring every measured thing he’s said up to this point. Just last week I espoused how Conte has been consistent in his messaging: this is a project, this will take time, the club is putting the work in, fans need to have patience, I’m pleased with how we work. This is the first time, really, that Conte has actively come out with something that flies in the face of that.
Conte even admitted that the club is doing all the right things. It’s just change takes time, and Spurs are a project.
“Believe me, we are working a lot. We are working a lot, we are working hard every day. I think that we are doing everything to change the situation but maybe it’s not enough. It’s not enough. I repeat, for me it’s very frustrating. Four defeats in the last five games. This is the first time in my life this type of situation has happened.
“Maybe I’m not so good for.... Maybe I’m not so good. Yes, maybe I’m not so good.”
Conte’s comments, however, do suggest to me is that this summer is going to be critical for the Italian’s future at Tottenham. There’s only so much turnover a club can do in January, and Spurs were left short-handed, especially in midfield. If Conte’s getting upset with results now, imagine what he’ll be like if he doesn’t feel as though he has the tools to implement his system and has an entire season of disappointment ahead of him. That’s maybe when we should start getting worried. I’m not especially worried right now.
This was a frustrating loss. Conte is frustrated. He probably should be! But again, these comments have the feel of an emotional outburst and not a signifier that he’s ready to walk away. In fact, the suggestion is more that Daniel Levy might fire him for this run of form, which... well, LOL. Ultimately, I think Conte understands the scope of the project and that it’s going to be a big challenge this season — he’s told us so repeatedly! I think he just let his emotions get the better of him today.