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'It was unfair' - Conte still fuming about Arsenal v Spurs Covid postponement ahead of rearranged derby

14:49 SAST 2022/05/11
Antonio Conte Tottenham 2021-22
The Italian manager has opened up on his frustration after seeing a crucial fixture pushed back at the start of the year

Antonio Conte has insisted "it was unfair" that Tottenham's home fixture against Arsenal was postponed due to a Covid-19 request from their rivals ahead of the re-arranged north London derby.

The two teams were originally due to meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 16, but the Gunners asked for the game to be pushed back due to a lack of available personnel.

The Gunners saw their request granted despite only having one positive coronavirus case in their squad, which prompted the Premier League to change their rules on postponements, but Conte still harbours some anger about the decision.

What has Conte said about Arsenal?

"To speak now about what happened in the past is not useful," the Spurs boss told a press conference.

"For sure, it was very strange that our game was postponed for covid and Arsenal didn’t have one player with covid.

"We lost a game 3-0 [to Rennes] because Premier League didn’t want to move our game when we had nine or 10 players with covid.

"At that time, it was unfair what happened, but now this is the past and we have to be focused on the present and try to get the best result.

"I think this could be a good chance for us to get three points against their whole team because if we played in January they were without many players because they were committed at the African Cup [of Nations] and injuries. I think football is wonderful. Also this type of game it’s right to play with two teams and all the players available."

Spurs and Arsenal face off for top-four spot

Arsenal are currently four points ahead of Tottenham in fourth place and will seal a place in next season's Champions League if they beat their old foes on Thursday.

Spurs will be hoping to keep the race for fourth alive, but Conte won't consider the 2021-22 campaign to be a failure if his side end up missing out, given the situation they were in when he joined the club in November.

"I knew very well the situation wasn’t good [when I arrived] and only a crazy person could imagine that with two games to go we’d be in the race for a place in the Champions League," said Conte.

"The club didn’t ask me to go for a place in the Champions League or Europa League. They appointed me to try to improve the situation.

"Now we have to be proud that after a difficult season in many aspects for the club, we’re in this race. I worked very hard with my staff and my players to improve the team and to create something, to create a base and I think that we did this."

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