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Klopp was looking for an 'alibi' with criticism of Spurs as Conte claims Liverpool boss got his job 'wrong' in Anfield draw

16:47 BST 10/05/2022
Antonio Conte Tottenham 2021-22
The Italian thinks that his opposite number may have been seeking excuses after a crucial result at the weekend

Antonio Conte has suggested Jurgen Klopp was looking for an "alibi" to explain his side's slip-up in the Premier League title race when the Liverpool boss criticised Tottenham's tactics after a 1-1 draw.

The Reds were held to a point by the Italian's side on Saturday, effectively opening up a three-point gap between the former and league leaders Manchester City at the summit, with just three games left to go.

That prompted furious criticism from Klopp - which he has since somewhat retracted - but speaking ahead of a crucial north London derby with Arsenal as his side fights for a Champions League place, Conte suggested that the German was merely seeking excuses.

What has Conte said on Klopp's comments?

"Jurgen is an intelligent person, very clever," Conte stated. "For the coach, it is not simple after the game, you have to try to keep your head cool. Sometimes it is not easy. Many times, if you remember this season, I was disappointed with the result and myself and my players.

"I have respect for Jurgen and I know he respects me a lot and this is a good chance for him and me to learn that during the game you never have to speak about your opponent. It is important to be focused on your team.

"He was a bit frustrated after the game but at the same time for every coach it is important to learn to be focused on your team, not the opponent. It means you want to find an excuse or an alibi because your job was wrong."

What has Conte said on the north London derby?

Conte, meanwhile, remained bullish on his side's prospects against the Gunners, as they look to close the gap in the race for the Champions League, adding: "We are talking about an important game, important for many different situations.

"First we are playing this game for an important target. For a place in the Champions League. This is first, to try to win this game. I also know the importance for our fans of this derby, the north London derby. This is the first time they're playing this derby in their stadium with all the fans.

"We have to try to get three points against Arsenal. We are talking about a good team, a really well-organised team. Arteta is doing a really good job. He's had the possibility to work and improve his team. In this moment of the season it has to give us a big push."

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