Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is back in the headlines following their 1-0 Premier League loss to Burnley. Except that those headlines had less to do with what happened on the ground, and more to do with what was being said there.
Spurs slipped to a fourth league defeat in their last five games as the positivity of their spectacular 3-2 victory at Manchester City was quickly erased by a lackluster performance at Turf Moor.
The loss left Spurs seven points behind the all-important fourth place, but with two games in hand to reduce that deficit.
But the performance at Burnley was poor enough to trigger post-match comments from the Spurs manager which were left open to interpreting his future at the helm.
Antonio Conte says Club will now have to make an assessment of their future after a loss to Burnley tonight. pic.twitter.com/z2QLaiEKZX
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 23, 2022
What Conte said after Burnley defeat
Spurs recorded just two shots on target against relegation fighters Sean Dyche, their lowest figure in 90 minutes in 2022, and Conte was angered by their failure to break Burnley.
“It was tough tonight, and it’s not just tonight, out of the last five games we’ve lost four,” Conte told full-time reporters.
“It means there will be an assessment, about the club and about me, because I’m very frustrated to lose the last four games.
“The situation is clear and I’m sorry for the fans because they don’t deserve it. But the club have to decide on the best solution.
“The players are always the same here, the club changes coaches, but the players stay the same and the results don’t change, I can’t accept that.”
In another round of comments, he made it clear that he wasn’t happy just sticking around for the paycheck.
“Maybe I’m not that good,” he said. “I think Tottenham called me to improve the situation. But I’m too honest to close my eyes. And keep saying ‘OK, but I want to finish my season this way, my salary is good.’ I’m not that kind of person.
“I have ambition. I am a person with ambition. I hate to lose and we have lost four of the last five games. I want to try to change the situation and also to take stock with the club .”
MORE: Premier League top scorers 2021-22: Updated Golden Boot rankings
Here is Antonio Conte’s press conference after the game against Burnley. “Maybe I’m not that good – I can’t close my eyes, I have ambition”. ⚪️ #THFC
— Fabrice Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 23, 2022
Conte’s comments raise more questions over Spurs’ future
The post-match remarks at Burnley are a reminder of Conte’s frankness and growing annoyance in recent weeks in north London.
Spurs’ poor form has prompted earlier outspoken comments, as he questioned the club’s transfer policy and downplayed their chances of finishing in the top four.
“What happened in January is not easy. Four players left in January. Four important players for Tottenham, two arrived. So even numerically instead of strengthening you maybe, on paper , weakened the team.
“”I’ve always said that I should only feel one percent of the possibility of winning the league.
“But here it’s strange because maybe I feel like the one percent chance is to finish fourth. The level of this league is very high and there’s not a lot of space for other teams apart from the top teams.”
Conte’s Tottenham contract and what could happen next
Conte was brought in as a replacement for Nuno Espirito Santo in November, following his summer departure from Serie A champions Inter Milan.
The former Italy international has agreed an 18-month contract, until the end of the 2022-23 season, with the option of a further one-year extension.
His annual salary is said to be around $13 million, but his latest remarks and growing dissatisfaction may result in him not completing the contract.
Conte developed a reputation for short terms in charge, and his stints sometimes ended in falling out, with his move to Juventus being the only role in which he lasted more than two seasons.
He could be in line for his shortest tenure since a 14-game spell at Atalanta in 2009-10, if the rhetoric and poor results continue.
Spurs have gone 11W-7L-3D in his 21 games at the helm. He took over the team in eighth place, where they still find themselves. They were hoping to make a run for fourth place and a place in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Despite still being alive in the FA Cup Round of 16, they were ousted from the Carabao Cup by a vastly superior Chelsea side and then knocked out of the UEFA Conference League due to a forfeit after an outbreak of COVID-19.