Antonio Conte Rips 'Selfish' Tottenham Players, Slams Ownership's Lack Of Ambition

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMarch 18, 2023

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Antonio Conte, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur, reacts after Theo Walcott (not pictured) of Southampton scores the team's second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium on March 18, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte blasted his players and the club's ownership after a disappointing 3-3 draw against Southampton on Saturday.

"The problem is that for another time we showed that we are not a team, we are 11 players that go onto the pitch," Conte said after the match. "I see selfish players, I see players that don't want to help each other and don't put their heart."

The criticism extended to the club's struggles over the past two decades:

B/R Football @brfootball

Antonio Conte went IN after Spurs' draw 😡<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/HaytersTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HaytersTV</a>)<a href="https://t.co/gMWJvVi4K5">pic.twitter.com/gMWJvVi4K5</a>

"They're used to it here," Conte said. "Don't play for something important. They don't want to play under pressure. They don't want to play under stress. Tottenham's story is this. 20 years there is the owner and they never won something. Why?"

Tottenham have never finished first in the Premier League, last winning a first division title in 1961. The club last won a major trophy in the 2007/08 League Cup, which is the only trophy won under the ownership of ENIC since it purchased the club in 2003.

Spurs have qualified for the UEFA Champions League multiple times in recent years and reached the final of Europe's premier club competition in 2019, but ownership has faced frequent criticism for the team's lack of silverware.

Conte has been with Spurs since 2021 and has the team sitting in fourth in the Premier League, which would secure another Champions League spot. But over the past few weeks, the club was eliminated by AC Milan in the Champions League round of 16 and by Championship side Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round to all but ensure another trophyless season, and fans have been frustrated by the team's counterattacking style of play.

The latest disappointment against Southampton came against a side sitting last in the EPL table.

Tottenham led 3-1 after the 74th minute but conceded a pair of goals, including a penalty in the 93rd minute, to finish with a 3-3 draw. The result could be significant with Spurs trying to hold off Newcastle, Liverpool and others for a top-four spot.

"The club has the responsibility for the transfer market, every coach that stayed here has the responsibility," Conte said. "And the players? The players? Where are the players? In my experience, if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve this aspect."

There is no shortage of talent on the roster with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son among those excelling individually during their careers in London, but high-profile managers like Conte and José Mourinho have been unable to help bring success to the club despite both winning multiple titles elsewhere.

With an international break leaving a gap between the team's next match against Everton on April 3, it raises the question whether Conte will be in the dugout by the time Spurs travel to Goodison Park.