Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte discusses Manchester United snub ahead of Old Trafford trip
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Manchester United (h/t Metro), Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte spoke about United’s interest in him and said he was not in contention for the Old Trafford job.
Both sides will be facing off against each other for the reverse fixture of the clash in the Premier League, with the Red Devils winning the game last time in a resounding 3-0 win in north London. However, it was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nuno Espirito Santo in charge of the two clubs in the previous match.
Nuno was sacked by Tottenham after the result, with Ole following him out of the Premier League three weeks later. Despite being linked to replace Ole, Conte said he had already signed for Spurs by then and that he was solely focused on his current job.
“Honestly, I think that [when] United decided to sack Solskjaer, I [had already] signed for Tottenham. It [Solskjaer’s sacking] happened after I signed, but honestly I am so focused on the Tottenham job that I didn’t read this.”
The Italian has had a topsy-turvy start to life in the Premier League with Tottenham, with his side being wildly inconsistent so far. However, he has recently overseen two successive league wins and will hope that he makes it a hat-trick on Saturday against United.
“I’m enjoying a lot”
Currently sitting in seventh place, the clash against the Old Trafford outfit is crucial to the Lilywhites’ title hopes, with both teams aiming to secure a top-four finish in the league table by the summer to play Champions League football next term.
Conte played down any prior United links and insisted he was enjoying the work he was doing at Tottenham, trying to build a competitive team for the future, and said he loved working with the players he has.
“I enjoyed to do this because at that moment I found this situation very good for me, to work in a modern club with a fantastic stadium, with a fantastic training ground, with a big task to try to build something important, to build something competitive for the future. Now the present is Tottenham for me. I repeat, I’m enjoying a lot working at this club with these players.”
One of the few elite managers in the football world, there can be no surprises as to why clubs like United have been linked with him given the Italian’s CV. Just last year, he led Inter Milan to the Serie A title after being there for just two years.
In England, he has prior experience with Chelsea, helping the club win the Premier League and showing everyone in the top-flight how effective it is playing a system with three defenders at the back. His tactical acumen is almost second to none, and Spurs have done well to appoint him as their manager.
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So far, the ex-Juventus boss has done a fair job at the club, although results have been varied since the turn of the new year. We have him to thank for getting Harry Kane back to his best and among the goals, as we chase a top-four spot by the end of the season. United, meanwhile, appointed Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis and aren’t really doing better than us this season.
Saturday presents a tough test for Conte and his team, coming up against a side that bested them 3-0. However, last time Spurs weren’t playing under the Italian, so things are expected to be much different this time around against the Red Devils. Having beaten United’s noisy neighbours, the Red Devils should be light work- or at least we hope so.