Tottenham boss Antonio Conte said supporters should ignore “fake news” after he was touted as a possible successor to Paris Saint-German coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Although PSG secured their 10th Ligue 1 title last week, rumours have circulated that former Spurs boss Pochettino could be relieved of his duties in the French capital after an underwhelming Champions League campaign, with Conte suggested as a potential successor.
With Conte winning five league titles throughout his career (four in Serie A, one in the Premier League) and overseeing a dramatic revival of Spurs’ fortunes since his November appointment, reports have suggested he could be tempted to swap North London for Paris at the end of the season.
However, ahead of Tottenham’s Premier League clash with Leicester on Sunday, Conte hit out at people who “invent” such rumours, calling on his team to ignore any possible distractions as they bid for a top-four finish.
“Obviously I think it’s good that other clubs appreciate my work, but this is one thing. The truth is I don’t like when people try to invent news, only to speak, only to create problems,” Conte said in a news conference.
“This is not right, this is not fair for the clubs involved or for my players, also because I feel we’re really focused on these five games and getting results.
“This type of situation makes me smile, but I think that the people that want to say something about this have to show respect for all the people involved in the situation, and not invent fake news and tell a lot of lies.
“In this moment, we need to be focused, we need to be concentrated on an important target. We have a big opportunity to try and get a place in the Champions League.
“Now, don’t listen to fake news. People for sure want to create problems for the environment. We have five games and then at the end of the season, in a private way, I will speak with my club and I will see the best solution.”
Sunday’s match will represent Conte’s 100th as a Premier League manager – he will become the fourth boss to reach the milestone this season, with each of the previous three losing on their landmark outing (Ralph Hasenhuttl, Graham Potter, and Dean Smith).
However, each of the previous three Italian managers to reach the milestone – Claudio Ranieri, Roberto Mancini, and Carlo Ancelotti – have won when bringing up their century in the competition.
Back home this Sunday. pic.twitter.com/9fuAIQVsMs
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 28, 2022
Spurs are rivalling Arsenal for Champions League qualification as the end of the campaign approaches, and Conte has called on his players to relish the top-four battle, saying they “deserve” to be in with a chance of facing Europe’s elite.
“We are working very hard, my players know very well that we are really focused, we are speaking a lot about this opportunity,” he added. “We have to live this situation with passion, enthusiasm and joy.
“We deserve to fight for a place in the Champions League. To stay there, we need to enjoy this situation. Our fans have to stay close to us in every moment, in every negative moment.”
Tottenham have gone without a win in two Premier League matches, drawing 0-0 with Brentford last time out after falling to a 1-0 home defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion. Prior to those two outings, Spurs had plundered 25 goals in their previous seven Premier League games.
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