ntonio Conte told Mike Arteta to stop complaining and focus on his team after Tottenham’s 3-0 win over 10-man Arsenal in Thursday’s north London derby.
In his post-match press conference, the fired-up Spurs boss hit out at Arteta, saying his opposite number complained too much for a coach who “had just started to do this job” and added that the decision to send off Rob Holding’s was “clear”.
Conte’s comments came after Arteta refused to discuss referee Paul Tierney’s decisions, saying he would be “suspended for six months” if he said what he really thought.
Tierney awarded Spurs a penalty, converted by Harry Kane for 1-0, and sent off Holding for a combined fouls on Heung-min Son before the England captain’s second goal. Son scored a third seconds after the interval, as Spurs moved a point behind their fourth-placed rivals with two games to play.
“I think that Mikel Arteta is a really good coach,” Conte said afterwards. “He’s just started to do this job and I think that I hear him complain a lot. I think that he needs to be focused more on his team and not to complain.
“Because he has just started his work and I think he has to be calm and to try to continue to work. Because he’s very good but to listen to a coach complain a lot of time is not good. But it’s okay, the red card for me was clear.”
Conte, who also had advice for Liveprool boss Jurgen Klopp this week, added that he could have complained about Fabinho escaping a booking for two fouls in Spurs’ 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday and reminded Arteta that the derby was initially postponed at Arsenal’s behest in January – despite the Gunners having just one Covid case in the squad.
“Don’t forget, against Liverpool I said nothing what happened with Fabinho, a lot of time, because if we want to complain we have the possibility every game to speak about the referee, about the decision, about the postponed game, I think that this is the advice if you want to accept the advice,” Conte continued. “If you don’t I don’t care.
“If you remember [Arteta] complained about the fixture. It is not good to complain. Arsenal were good to postpone a game in an incredible way with Covid and they only had one player with Covid. I didn’t forget this. If he wants to complain, we have a lot of possibilities to complain.
“Now, today I can complain about why I have to play on Sunday at 12pm and Arsenal has to play on Monday night. And they have one day more rest. We played against Leicester, Liverpool, Arsenal and now after only two days we have to play and we have to play the first game at 12pm.”
Conte admitted the initial postponement was a motivating factor for Spurs, who can leapfrog Arsenal if they beat Burnley at home on Sunday, with the Gunners not playing until a visit to Newcastle on Monday night.
“For sure, it wasn’t a good situation because we were ready to play at that time and to see the game postponed in a strange way made us angry,” he said.
“But this is the past, the present is different. I said in the press conference I prefer to play against Arsenal with all their players available because if I have to beat Arsenal, they have to play with all their players.
“I think maybe my players were a bit angry also for the first leg, because we lost 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium. And then I repeat: an important target tonight.
“Only winning the game would continue the possibility to keep hope of finishing in the Champions League places.”