Richarlison lashes out on Antonio Conte after Tottenham’s shameful Champions League exit
The Brazilian forward has hit out on head Coach Antonio Conte over playing time.
Richarlison blasted Antonio Conte after Tottenham’s Champions League exit on Wednesday evening and described Spurs’ season so far as ‘s***’.
Spurs needed a win in their return fixture at home after losing 1-0 to AC Milan in the first leg at San Siro, but instead delivered a lifeless performance as they limped to a goalless draw against a side that currently sits fifth in Serie A.
Richarlison slammed Conte’s tactics for the second half against AC Milan after Spurs were eliminated, claiming the Italian did not explain why he started the game as a substitute.
‘We’re out of the biggest club competition, but we can’t play like this needing a goal,’ Richarlison told TNT Sports.
‘Now there’s not much to talk about, we can’t assign blame, we have to focus on the Premier League, we train early tomorrow, and our next match is against Nottingham Forest,’ he says.
When asked about his own situation at Spurs and Conte’s decision to start him on the bench for the second leg against AC Milan, Richarlison said, ‘I also didn’t get that. I was playing well, I was in good form, I had two victories over West Ham and Chelsea, and then he put me on the bench.
‘He played me for five minutes against Wolves,’ I asked, and they didn’t tell me anything.
‘He asked me to do a test at the training ground yesterday, and he said if I did well, he’d play me, but when the game came, he benched me. These things are incomprehensible.
‘He didn’t say anything. Let’s wait and see what he says tomorrow.
‘You don’t have an idiot here, I’m a professional, I work every day, and I want to play,’ he says. I need more time.
‘If the season is, sorry for the word, is s*** why do I not get minutes?
‘I have a minor injury, but when I’m on the pitch, I give my all. I had two good games coming up, especially against Chelsea, where I played the full 90 minutes and won the game.
‘There isn’t much to talk about; I should have played so I wouldn’t have to sit here crying.’
When asked how he plans to stay focused for the rest of the season, Richarlison said, ‘There’s about 20 matches left, almost 20 matches, I don’t know 18… thirteen, yeah? Focus on those matches and scoring as many goals as possible because the club paid a lot for me and I haven’t been able to match that on the pitch.
‘Of course, injuries set me back a little, and I needed to play more minutes as well, but now I’m going home to rest, tomorrow we have early training, and we’ll see if they put me in the starting XI for the next match.’
Antonio Conte has always prioritised substance over fashion. Not exactly in keeping with the club’s motto of “to dare is to do,” but with his track record as a winner, it was something trophy-hungry Spurs were willing to risk. However, after a strong finish last season, this season has been largely sluggish, with a perplexing habit of failing to show up in the first half.
Given the culture clash between what Spurs fans expect and what Conte (right) always delivers, perhaps it was never a match made in heaven. After the deaths of three friends – Spurs fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, Sinisa Mihajlovic, and Gianluca Vialli – and his recent stay in Italy to recover from gallbladder surgery, the manager, who is based in a hotel in London, may be feeling the pull of family and home even more.
Conte has previously been able to spend to bring in the players he desired as key pieces to his system’s success. Tottenham, unlike Chelsea and Inter Milan, does not spend as much money. Good players like Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski have improved the squad, and more money has been spent – although Conte has never seemed to be a fan of £60 million Brazilian Richarlison – but there are still many areas in this Spurs squad that require investment.
During the hectic months early in the season, when the regulars were exhausted and dealing with injuries, there was a reluctance to refresh the team and use squad players.