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Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte responds to Richarlison comments

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has hit back at Richarlison after the forward criticised him for his lack of game time.

The last two weeks have been turbulent for Tottenham. After back-to-back London derby victories over West Ham United and Chelsea, they were eliminated in the FA Cup by Championship side Sheffield United.

This was followed by a defeat in the league away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, before being knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan. This run of form has left them without any hope of lifting a trophy this term.

After the second leg against Milan, Brazilian attacker Richarlison voiced his frustration at his lack of game time. He appeared to be confused by Conte’s decision to leave him on the bench for the last two outings, having started the fixtures against West Ham and Chelsea.

Conte has now replied to the comments made by the former Everton man. Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Nottingham Forest, the Italian said: “I think the guy (Richarlison) understood very well that he made a mistake.

“When you speak about ‘I’ and not about ‘us’, it means that you are only thinking about yourself, that you are selfish. If you want to be competitive to win a trophy, you have to speak about ‘we’.

“But I repeat, he understood his mistake very well. He apologised. And for me, this was good because I had an opportunity to clarify the importance of the spirit of the team.”

It’s been a frustrating debut campaign in north London for Richarlison. Off the back of a £60 million move from Everton, the Brazil international has struggled to nail down a spot in the starting XI, often playing a back-up role to Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Dejan Kulusevski.

In 25 appearances for the Lilywhites, Richarlison has scored just twice. Both of those goals came back in September in the Champions League victory over Marseille. He has not recorded a goal contribution at club level since then.

Next up for Spurs is a home game against Nottingham Forest. This is followed by trips to relegation strugglers Southampton and Everton.

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