Antonio Conte insists no transfer promises were made by Tottenham but refuses to commit long-term future

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  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Antonio Conte has insisted he did not join Tottenham because he was promised money to spend on transfers but again refused to offer any assurances he would see out his contract.

On Friday, Conte declined to say if he would definitely remain at Spurs for the duration of his 18-month deal, amid reports that some players are concerned he could quit if disappointed by the club’s transfer window.

Conte has won five titles in his past seven seasons as a coach and has a reputation for demanding quick success.

The 52-year-old has appeared surprised by the quality of his squad, which he has repeatedly described as "in the middle", and said he did not realise the true situation at Spurs until he began the job.

And, at a later briefing on Friday, Conte was again pushed to give supporters assurances he was committed to Tottenham until at least the end of the next season.

He said: “Honestly I like to live in the present and not to think a lot of the future. Now it is important to live in the present, to try in the present to improve the situation and get out the best of my players. To work to improve the situation because the present is now, the future is later. Later could be too much later for us.

“We have to be focused on the present and work to try to improve the situation now. Then I will see. Now we have to be focused on the present and we have to work a lot to try to keep Tottenham in the right position.

“As you know I signed a contract for the end of the season and one year more," Conte continued.

"But I repeat, I am enjoying my time at Tottenham and I have a good relationship with the people in Tottenham, with our chairman, with our general director. I want to work and improve this team. We have to be focused on the present to try to improve the situation. For sure I want to improve, we want to improve. This must be the important thing."

Conte has warned that Spurs must improve the squad if they want to compete for silverware and they are targeting a midfielder, a forward and a right wing-back this month.

But it is understood Spurs must offload players before Conte can invest in new talent – a situation which is likely to frustrate the Italian.

Conte first held talks over taking the Spurs job last summer but negotiations broke down, and there were suggestions that the club had made significant promises to convince to join at the second time of asking in November.

But he insisted he did not join Spurs because of promises made by chairman Daniel Levy or Fabio Paratici, the club’s managing director, over spending and said he was focused on improving his players on the training pitch.

“I did not sign for Tottenham because the chairman or the general director [Paratici] told me something about the transfer market or about the money the club is going to spend, honestly,” Conte said.

 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

“I accepted because I felt that Tottenham could be a fantastic situation for me to work, to try to bring my idea of football, to try to create something important for this club. For sure they said to me that ‘we want to improve and we would like to work with you’. I said OK, yes, and now we have to try to improve and to bring the team to an important level. I know very well it will be very difficult because the gap is not a little gap. But we have to try to match our ambition and the reality of the situation in this moment of the team."

Conte though reiterated that Spurs must build a squad to match their magnificent stadium and training ground.

"I know it’s not easy because to improve the situation. There is only the January transfer market," he said. "Then there is the work, my work, the work of my staff and the players to try to improve the situation.

"As I said before, I enjoy working at Tottenham because I found a fantastic environment, fantastic atmosphere, amazing stadium, fantastic training ground. For sure I think maybe we have to bring the level of the team to the same level as our infrastructure. To try to match the situation now, I think we have to improve to match these two different situations."

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