Antonio Conte has suggested Tottenham made him “crazy” after just a few months in charge but said his furious reaction to February’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley was the turning point in their season.
The 52-year-old was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor in November but began to publicly question his position after a damaging loss at Turf Moor which left them seven points outside the top four, albeit with two games in hand.
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has admitted he was driven ‘crazy’ at the start. He said at the time that “maybe in this moment, I’m not so good to improve the situation” in an outburst which led to speculation he could quit the club this summer.
However, Tottenham have since won eight out of 12 Premier League games with their latest success — Thursday’s 3-0 win over north London rivals Arsenal — leaving them one point outside the Champions League qualification places.
Tottenham's 3-0 win against Arsenal is their biggest #NLD victory in the Premier League and their largest league win against the Gunners since 1983 (5-0).
Spursy. 😉 pic.twitter.com/X9HZttYNe7
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 12, 2022
With Burnley set to visit north London this weekend, Conte reflected on his emotional state after the reverse fixture and his squad’s reaction.
“I think honestly there are moments that if you want to change the situation, address the situation in the way you’re used to addressing, sometimes you have to go strong,” he said.
“I understand very well that I took a risk because a lot of people didn’t understand. I read that it only took two months for Tottenham to make Conte crazy! I remember very well [that] I was the crazy [one].
“Sometimes coaches have a strategy and the strategy is the stick or the carrot. At the time, all the environment needed the stick. Myself was the first person because I hit myself and then the others because before saying something wrong about the players or the situation, the first to take the blame has to be the manager.
“The manager has to address the situation. At the time, I thought it was right to go strong to try to change the situation. At the time, in my opinion no-one could think with two games to go, Tottenham could fight for the Champions League.
“Instead now, we are there and from that step we improved a lot. Also, there are moments when everyone has to take responsibility. The manager is the first, then the players, the club and all the employees of Tottenham. Because we win and we lose together.”
Conte’s name reverberated around the stadium during a joyous night for the home support, and the Italian was asked whether he feels more connected to life at Tottenham after months of rumours he could walk out.
He said: ‘From the moment I came into the club — and in every club I worked in in the past — I go totally with my heart, mind and head. Totally. 100 per cent and more.
‘This is my characteristic. I’m a passionate person. I think I showed this passion. I think to see me afterwards sometimes on TV, it’s not simple to see me in this way. I’m very passionate, I’m this way. I like to go totally into the club where I work. I know that only in this way I’m able to give everything. And also, to find the way to recieve everything from my players, my club and the fans. Because if I’m the first person to give 200 per cent, then for sure I can ask for this [in return].’
Tottenham must now win their last two games – at home to Burnley and away to already relegated Norwich – and hope Arsenal slip up against Newcastle away or Everton at home