Antonio Conte refuses to commit future to Tottenham amid exit fears – ‘The present is now’
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte refused to be drawn into committing his long-term future to the club when quizzed on the matter on Saturday morning. The Italian coach replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in the dugout back in November with the aim of bringing the north Londoners back into contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Conte has registered eight wins from 14 matches in charge in all competitions, helping Spurs to climb up to sixth place in the table as a result of the improvement to their domestic form.
He signed a one-and-a-half year deal at the club upon his arrival but it has already been suggested that a move elsewhere could soon be on the cards.
Tottenham’s players are said to be concerned that Conte may decide to walk from his post at Spurs if he is not supported in the January transfer window by owner Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici, according to football.london.
There are a couple of question marks around the strength of Tottenham’s current squad, with their midfield ranks in particular need of additional reinforcement, and Conte is said to be keen on adding to his ranks ahead of this month’s deadline.
The 52-year-old did little to ease the growing speculation over his future at the club by failing to provide any guarantees ahead of tomorrow’s north London derby against Arsenal.
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“Honestly, I like to live in the present and not to think a lot for the future,” Conte told reporters when asked if he would still be at Spurs next season.
“It’s important to live in the present, to try to improve the situation, because the present is now, the future is later.
“And later could be too much late for us. We have to be focused on the present. Then we will see.
“Now we have to be focused on the present and we have to work a lot to try to keep Tottenham in the right position.
“I want to work, I want to improve this team and, I repeat, we have to be focused on the present because, for sure, I want to improve, we want to improve.”
Conte has cut an increasingly frustrated figure as of late, lamenting his squad’s lack of depth and gap in quality to the Premier League’s best sides in recent weeks.
He admitted that he was taken aback by the gravity of the situation at Spurs after their embarrassing defeat to NS Mura in the Europa Conference League two months ago.
“I must be honest and tell you that after three-and-a-half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation,” said Conte.
“I can tell you that the situation is not simple. It is not simple because in this moment for sure the level of Tottenham is not so high.
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“There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. I am here to work, here to improve the situation.
“I know that in this moment we need to have patience, time and I am here because I know there are problems to solve.
“After three-and-a-half weeks, I am happy to stay here but at the same time I must be honest and tell you we need to work a lot to improve the quality of the [current] squad.
“We are Tottenham and Tottenham in this moment, there is an important gap. If someone thinks that a new coach arrives and Conte won in the past and then I am a magician.
“But the only magic I can do is to work. To bring work and work to improve, to bring my methods, my ideas of football.”
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