Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has said there is a “bad habit” in English football of club executives choosing not to speak out and urged the club’s hierarchy to publicly explain the club’s strategy.
Spurs are facing renewed questions over their future direction after losing Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal to fall five points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have a game in hand.
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The dramatic nature of the Arsenal’s rise to the top of the Premier League, combined with a trophy drought dating back to 2008 and a lack of tangible progress this season, has increased scrutiny on Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and owners ENIC over their running of the club.
In a sign of growing dissent, significant sections of Spurs fans have chanted “We want Levy out” at recent matches. Levy rarely gives media interviews, choosing instead to communicate directly with supporters twice a season: in a chairman’s message before the last home game of every season and in a statement issued alongside the club’s annual accounts.
Managing director of football Fabio Paratici regularly spoke publicly during his time in a similar role at Juventus but has held just one press conference since joining Spurs in June 2021.
Conte, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has previously hinted at a difference of opinion over how the club should develop into title contenders, with Spurs habitually limiting themselves in the market by signing younger players as opposed to the Italian’s preference for more mature, experienced signings ready to help the team immediately.
Speaking on Tuesday ahead of Spurs’ trip to Manchester City, Conte said: “In England, there is a bad habit that there is only the coach to speak and to explain. I have never seen the medical department come here to explain why this player is having difficulty to recover.
“It’s the same also, I have never seen the club or sporting director come here to explain the strategy and vision of the club. In Italy for example, before every game there is a person from the club who has to go before the media and answer every question.
“For us, it could be much, much better because otherwise, every time there is only one face to explain a situation which I think is better for the club to explain. But this is a habit and I respect this habit.
“In Italy, it’s different, the person from the club during the game week speaks and explains many situations. If only the coach speaks there are sometimes misunderstandings. I think it would be good to have the club present in the media and to speak. Not every week but at least every 15 days or once-a-month.
“In this way it could also be more simple for you [the media] to understand the situation. And not only have one face and always the same face. Believe me it’s difficult because every thing [I] tell could be a criticism or negative, and this is not the truth.”
Pushed on whether he had asked anyone at the club to speak publicly, Conte added: “I am not going to ask anything. This type of situation is good for every club: ‘don’t go into the media’. In this type of situation, it’s a risk to speak always to explain this type of situation. The coach has to stay silent and accept the situation.”