Antonio Conte told to explain himself by Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg over controversial comments
- Conte berated players and club
- Italian now faces potential sacking
- Hojbjerg has demanded explanation over comments
WHAT HAPPENED? 3-1 up and with 17 minutes remaining, Spurs let a two-goal lead slip against the Premier League's bottom side. Visibly enraged not for the first time during his tenure in north London, Conte let rip at his "selfish" players and hinted at a loser's mentality at the club after "20 years" without a trophy. Speaking ahead of Denmark's upcoming European qualifier against Finland, Hojbjerg admitted he understood the Italian's frustrations, but asked he speak to the players before going public with such grievances.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “I think we’ve all seen it. He gave a very honest and very open press conference," the 27-year-old midfielder told reporters. "It is because he is not satisfied. You don’t do that if you’ve reached the quarter-final of the Champions League and if you’re in the semi-final of the FA Cup. It comes from the fact that, unfortunately, we did not get the results we as a team and club wanted.
"We are still where we want and need to be in the Premier League. But yes, it’s hard. I understand that if you want to be successful as a team, you need 11 men who are committed to a project and a culture. But I think he has to elaborate on how he feels before you as a player can start measuring and weighing.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Conte's comments have not been without their ramifications. While the Italian was seen leaving London on a flight to Italy on Monday, it was reported that chairman Daniel Levy would relieve him of his duties imminently, with Ryan Mason set to take interim charge as he did after Jose Mourinho's sacking. Should Levy need him, former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has also thrown his hat in the managerial ring.
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WHAT NEXT FOR TOTTENHAM? Levy will have a while to select his next replacement if he dismisses Conte as club football breaks for the latest round of international matches. The response that Hojbjerg is waiting for may well take a while to reach him, given that plans are already in place over Conte's successor in north London.