Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has questioned why only managers have to face the media in English football – and not other figures such as sporting directors – as questions about his Spurs side continue to mount.
Conte’s side lost the North London derby to Arsenal 2-0 on Super Sunday to sit 14 points behind their arch-rivals, who sit at the top of the table with a game in hand over Tottenham.
Spurs are also five points behind the Champions League places and now face a trip to Premier League champions Manchester City, live on Sky Sports this Thursday, with the inconsistency of Conte’s side at the forefront of his pre-match press conference.
The Italian manager confessed to being irritated about having to answer the same questions over and over again and believes more clarity can be available if there is a wider range of people from the club facing the media.
“In England, I think there is a bad habit that there is only the coach to speak,” Conte said. “I have never seen the medical department come here and explain that this player is having difficulty to recover. I never see the club or sporting director to come here and explain the strategy and the vision of the club.
“In Italy, every game, before the game, there is a person from the club who goes with the media and then has to answer many questions. For us, it could be really better because otherwise we put every time our face [points to his face]. There is only one face to show.
“It means if only the coach speaks, sometimes there can be misunderstandings. It could be good to have the club presenting to the media to speak. Maybe not every week but every 15 days, once a month in this way.
“It could be more simple for you [journalists] to understand and not only one face or the same face. Believe me, it’s difficult. Everything you try to tell, it could be a criticism or something wrong or something negative. This is not the truth.”
Conte, whose side have failed to win three out of their last four Premier League games but are still in the Champions League and FA Cup, admitted he did not understand why there was so much negativity about his position – saying the club is doing what it can within its “possibilities”.
“What I can tell you is only one thing: we are working really hard every day for this club,” said Conte. “Then if there is criticism, you have to accept it.
“It’s difficult to understand what the criticism is. We are doing what we have to do in our possibility. But we have to accept it.
“My answer is always the same, I put everything on the players to do the same for this club and for the fans.”
‘It’s a cultural thing’
Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge:
“This is a general point. This is a cultural thing.
“He’s not pointing the finger as such, in my opinion.
“Hypothetically, if Inter Milan – Conte’s previous club – sign someone, you’d expect the sporting director to talk about it.
“He’s said before about a long-term injury that the physio would talk about it.
“Tottenham have just come off the back of a really bad defeat to their biggest rivals so there are frustrations at the moment, and you can see it from Conte as well.”
‘There are frustrations at Spurs’
More from Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge:
“It’s a difficult situation. You could have an hour’s discussion on Tottenham.
“Hypothetically, if Spurs sign someone for £100m and then Antonio Conte decides to leave and the new manager doesn’t really like that player, then there’s a bit of a situation.
“However, I think the vast majority of fans are keen to see incomings at Spurs. The squad needs it.
“There are still a couple of weeks to go in this window and we know they want a right wing-back and an attacking midfielder as well.
“That hasn’t happened yet, but if you remember last January, the two players they bought in from Juventus are key players now. They played a huge part in turning around last season and getting that final Champions League spot.
“There are frustrations from supporters, head coach and players after what was a poor day on Sunday.”
Conte defends Son form | ‘He’s not a robot’
Conte also defended the form of Spurs striker Heung-Min Son, who endured another frustrating outing against Arsenal on Sunday.
The South Korean forward, who won last season’s Premier League Golden Boot alongside Mohamed Salah, has scored in just two Premier League games all season, in a run that includes only one goal in his last 10 top-flight outings.
The Spurs manager was asked whether the return of Richarlison could help someone like Son find his form due to added competition, but Conte did not take kindly to the question.
“About this topic, before this season you said to me: maybe Richarlison is pushing Son and Son is not performing well,” Conte claimed. “If I don’t remember [wrongly], you said this to me. Now you’re saying exactly the opposite.
“I want to stay here to answer every question but sometimes I have totally the opposite [question] that you made to me some time ago. You said that maybe Sonny was struggling under pressure to have a player like Richarlison behind him.
“There are different seasons. The players are human. He’s a person. For sure, if we talk about Sonny, last season he scored 25 goals. In this season he’s not scoring so much. For us, it’s not good news this because we count on his goals.
“We are talking about not a robot, but a person, a human. I’m the first to hope that Sonny scores, with or without the pressure of players like Richarlison behind him.
“This is football, this is football. We have to try to face especially the players but also the coaches with different situations, positive or negative.
“The most important thing I see during the training session and during the games is Sonny is trying to do his best. Sometimes the best means you have to score or make an assist. Sometimes It means you are not so lucky not to score or make an assist.”
Watch Manchester City vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League this Thursday night, kick-off 8pm.