The chances of Tottenham returning to the Champions League next season are starting to look a bit slimmer after the team threw away a two-goal lead at last-place Southampton on Saturday.
The chances of Antonio Conte returning to coach the team next season are looking even slimmer after the Italian tore into his players for being “selfish” and slammed the club for not having a winning mentality.
After James Ward Prowse’s injury-time penalty earned Southampton a 3-3 draw in the Premier League, a despondent Conte responded by questioning his players’ attitude and accused them of not playing as a collective.
“I’m not used to see this type of situation,” Conte said. “I see a lot of selfish players. And I don’t see a team.”
Conte became known as a serial winner after leading both Juventus and Inter Milan to the Serie A title and Chelsea to the Premier League crown. But he is set to finish a second season at Tottenham without a trophy after the team went out of the Champions League and FA Cup recently. And he could even see the team miss out on a Champions League spot as its grip on fourth place is increasingly shaky.
Tottenham has not won a trophy in any competition since the 2008 League Cup and Conte — in comments that will only fuel speculation that he wants to leave the club — accused the Tottenham players and hierarchy of being content with that.
“I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart (in),” Conte told his post-game news conference. “Why? Because they are used to it here, they are used to it. They don’t play for something important, yeah. They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress. It is easy in this way. Tottenham’s story is this. Twenty years there is the (same) owner and they never won something.”
Tottenham would have provisionally climbed above Manchester United into third with a win, but is now just two points ahead of fifth-place Newcastle, which has played two fewer games.
Tottenham had taken a 3-1 lead after Pedro Porro and Ivan Perisic netted their first goals for the club and Harry Kane scored his 23rd of the campaign.
Southampton had only scored twice in its previous five league appearances but the hosts showed the same fight that saw them recently take points off Chelsea and Manchester United to come back and boost their survival hopes.
Ward-Prowse’s late penalty, after Pape Sarr had fouled Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the area, added to second-half efforts by Che Adams and Theo Walcott to earn Saints a point.
For Southampton, the point could prove crucial in an ever-tightening battle to avoid relegation. The club remained bottom of the standings, but only four points separate it from Crystal Palace in 12th place.