Conte: Tottenham must match my ambition
Antonio Conte says Tottenham have to match his ambition if he is going to be a long-term success at the club, but insists he has no concerns about the short length of his contract.
The Italian, who took over from Nuno Espirito Santo in November and only has 18 months on his deal, has already made it clear how far he thinks Spurs are from challenging for top honours.
After Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Chelsea he said Spurs were a team in the “middle” and were incomparable to their London rivals.
Conte has admitted there is a big rebuilding project at the club and, while he is satisfied with the terms under which he moved to north London, the head coach says Spurs must understand his “vision” to take them back towards the elite.
“I signed a contract for this season and next season,” said Conte. “I think that we decided together, the club and I, to go for this decision.
“I think that I don’t need a long contract to be sure to work for a club. I think that the club has to appreciate my job and then extend my contract, but only if I showed the club I deserve this.
“I’m not a coach that wants many years of a contract. Also it’s not fair, because I know very well I’m a top coach with an important salary for the club.
“I’m open to improve the Tottenham situation and I decided to sign a contract with this club and I’m available to give my opinion, to give my vision and it won’t be a problem for me, a short contract – only one year to go. It’s OK because Tottenham has to be sure 120 per cent to continue to work with me.
“I’m happy to work with this group because they are giving me great availability. But at the same time, you know the club has to know my vision, has to know my opinion about the situation and especially what is our ambition.”
Conte has perhaps been surprised at just how big the gap between Spurs and their rivals is, having had the chance to work with his squad for two months, but he insists he is enjoying working with the current crop.
“When I decided to sign with Tottenham, I know what happened recently in the story of the club,” he added ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Morecambe.
“When you arrive at a new club, you have to go into the situation to understand it very well and to know it very well.
“Outside you can only imagine. It’s the same with the players. Outside, you can give an evaluation about a player and then I think when you are the coach of the player and you live with the player day by day, you understand everything about the player and I think it’s the same for me.
“But with the players, I am enjoying my time in Tottenham because I have found a group of players who have shown me a great availability and they show me the will, the desire to improve in many aspects and when you have this type of player you are happy.
“For sure it is good to have training sessions, good to live this situation in Tottenham and have a group of players that wants to follow you and try to improve them and try to create something strong for the present and for the future.
“When you have this type of availability it is easier because when you have good players and a top man it is easier for a coach to do his job.”
Conte: ‘Door open’ for Eriksen to train at Spurs
Conte says “the door is always open” for Christian Eriksen to train at Tottenham as the Dane steps up his unlikely comeback from a cardiac arrest.
Eriksen revealed this week that he “died for five minutes” when he collapsed during the Euro 2020 group match against Finland in June.
The 29-year-old received life-saving treatment on the pitch before being taken to hospital and was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device.
He left Inter Milan by mutual consent before Christmas after rules in Italy prevented him from playing with an ICD and he is now training with third-tier Swiss club FC Chiasso as he looks to build up his fitness.
The midfielder, who has targeted a place in Denmark’s squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, was signed by Conte at Inter in 2020, and the manager says he would be welcome to continue his training at Spurs, who he played for from 2013-2020.
“I didn’t speak recently with Christian,” said Conte. “For sure, it was great, it was fine, to see him on a pitch, to see that he is kicking a ball.
“We are talking about a really important player, but especially a top man.
“What happened this summer was very not good – not good for the people that worked with him and the people that know him. I was scared in that moment.
“And now, to see him again ready to play football is great news. I think for Christian the door is always open.”
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