Tottenham Hotspur attacker Dejan Kulusevski has expressed his respect for Antonio Conte, despite the head coach’s impending departure. Conte’s time at the Premier League club is set to end soon after he criticised his own players for being “selfish” and referenced the club’s lack of silverware during a 10-minute rant following a draw with Southampton. While the manager claimed his words were aimed at underperforming players, he will still be leaving before Tottenham’s upcoming match against Everton.
Kulusevski and his teammate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were asked about the press conference during their international duty with Sweden, and the former said he would be happy to continue working with Conte. Kulusevski said that while the coach was disappointed, he and his teammates respected his words. Despite the frustration boiling over, Kulusevski insisted he had taken no offence to Conte’s comments and said he appreciated how much the coach has helped him during his career.
Conte’s departure from Tottenham was already anticipated, but the situation may now be accelerated, with first-team coach Ryan Mason rumoured to take charge for the remaining 10 fixtures of the season. Mason has been present at Hotspur Way this week and worked with several players, including Clement Lenglet and Lucas Moura.
For Tottenham fans, the situation with Conte may be worrying, but it is worth remembering that Mason has previous experience leading the team during a similar situation. It remains to be seen who will take charge of the club in the long term, with several names being considered, including Mauricio Pochettino, Oliver Glasner, and Thomas Tuchel.
Regardless of who eventually takes charge at Tottenham, Kulusevski’s comments show that he has a high opinion of Conte and his contribution to the club. This sentiment is significant and indicative of the coach’s impact on the players he has worked with during his time at Tottenham. While the frustration of losing matches and failing to win trophies is understandable, there is still tremendous respect for Conte, and many will remember the positive effects he had on the team, both on and off the pitch.