Conte says Spurs must match ambition if he is to stay long-term

Conte says Spurs must match ambition if he is to stay long-term

by Emily Smith
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Antonio Conte says Tottenham have to match his ambition if he is going to be a long-term success at the club, but has no concerns about the short length of his contract.

The Italian, who took over from Nuno Espirito Santo in November and only has 18 months on his deal, has already made it clear how far he thinks Spurs are from challenging for top honours.

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After Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Chelsea he said Spurs were a team in the “middle” and were incomparable to their London rivals.

He has admitted there is a big rebuilding project at the club, but is currently only contracted to the summer of 2023.

The 52-year-old is not concerned about the short length of his deal and says that both parties have to be sure they are a good fit.

And much of that could depend on whether the club are willing to give Conte all the necessary tools to get them back to the top table of English football.

“I signed a contract for this season and next season. I think that we decided together, the club and I, to go for this decision,” he said, while insisting he remains happy at the club.

“I think that I don’t need a long contract to be sure to work for a club. I think that the club has to appreciate my job and then extend my contract. But only if I showed the club I deserve this.

“I repeat, I’m not a coach that wants many years of a contract. Also, it’s not fair. Because I know very well I’m a top coach with an important salary for the club.

“I’m open to improve the Tottenham situation and I decided to sign a contract with this club and I’m available to give my opinion, to give my vision and it won’t be a problem for me, a short contract – only one year to go.

“It won’t be a problem and I don’t want to commit to clubs for many years because I understand the salary is an important salary for the club and I have to deserve this type of contract.

“It’s OK because Tottenham has to be sure 120 per cent to continue to work with me.

“I’m happy to work with this group because they are giving me great availability. But at the same time, you know the club has to know my vision, has to know my opinion about the situation and especially what is our ambition.”

Conte has perhaps been surprised at just how big the gap between Spurs and their rivals is, having had the chance to work with his squad for two months. But he insists he is enjoying working with the current crop.

“When I decided to sign with Tottenham, I know what happened recently in the story of the club,” he added ahead of an FA Cup tie with Morecambe on Sunday where he will be without forward Son Heung-min due to injury.

“When you arrive at a new club, you have to go into the situation to understand it very well and to know it very well.

“Outside you can only imagine. It’s the same with the players. Outside, you can give an evaluation about a player and then I think when you are the coach of the player and you live with the player day by day, you understand everything about the player and I think it’s the same for me.

“But with the players, I am enjoying my time in Tottenham because I have found a group of players who have shown me a great availability and they show me the will, the desire to improve in many aspects and when you have this type of player you are happy.

“For sure it is good to have training sessions, good to live this situation in Tottenham and have a group of players that wants to follow you and try to improve them and try to create something strong for the present and for the future.

“When you have this type of availability it is easier because when you have good players and a top man it is easier for a coach to do his job.”

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