Tottenham manager Antonio Conte hit out at Arsenal rival Mikel Arteta in brutal fashion after the north London derby on Thursday night as he claimed: “He complains a lot.” Spurs hammered the Gunners 3-0 after Rob Holding had been sent off while the visitors trailed by one goal. But Arteta was furious post-match and claimed that he could not express his feelings or he would face punishment from the FA.
But Conte issued a savage response to Arteta’s complaints and insisted the Arsenal manager needs to focus on his job and complain less. The Spaniard had hinted he was unhappy with referee Paul Tierney’s performance, with the match official giving Spurs a penalty to make it 1-0 through Harry Kane and then sending off Holding for a second yellow after he elbowed Son Heung-min.
And Conte said of Arteta in stinging style his post-match press conference: “He complains a lot. He has to focus more on his team. He has to be calm and focus more on his work. Mikel Arteta is a really good coach. He has just started to do this job and I listen to him complain a lot. To hear someone complain all the time is not so good. He has to be calm and try to continue to work.
“At Liverpool do you hear me complain about Fabinho and all the fouls? No. He can take my advice if he wants, but if not I don’t care. He complained about the fixtures and that was after Arsenal had an unbelievable postponement with just one Covid case. Now we’re playing at 12pm on Sunday and they don’t play until Monday. We can’t always complain.”
Arteta had earlier told the Sky Sports cameras: “If I say what I think I am suspended six months. I am allowed to give my interpretation of what I thought, but I do not like to lie. I cannot say what I think, I will be suspended. I am so proud of my players. Ask the referee to come here and explain his decisions.
“That’s his decision. Such a beautiful game was destroyed here.” On Holding’s red card the Arsenal manager added: “The decision is made. I cannot change it. The referee has to make the decision and react in football.”
Arsenal fell 3-0 to Spurs when a victory would have secured Champions League qualification. After Kane’s penalty made it 1-0 and Holding was dismissed, the Spurs striker scored again to double the hosts’ advantage against 10 men. Son then made it a three-goal lead just two minutes after the restart although they could not add a fourth or fifth.
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And Arteta was irate post-match and voiced similar frustrations to his television interviews when sat down in front of journalists in his press conference. He continued: “I cannot do it [talk about the referees]. I’m really proud of my players and I’m looking forward to Monday night.
“I want to be on the touchline on Monday night. I don’t want to be suspended. We wanted to play a game. We were so excited to play. You could see how we started. It was a beautiful occasion and it was destroyed.”
Conte meanwhile warned his Spurs players they have to now go and beat Burnley on Sunday. Victory there would haul them two points clear of Arsenal before their north London rivals face Newcastle the next day. He said: “To win this game it gave us the possibility to continue, to take our place in the Champions League. I’m pleased with the commitment. I was clear with the players, it’s alright to celebrate but if we don’t win on Sunday it doesn’t mean anything.”