Antonio Conte relaxed over short Tottenham contract but warns club must match his ambition to extend

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Antonio Conte relaxed over short Tottenham contract but warns club must match his ambition to extend
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  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager

Antonio Conte says there is "no problem" with the length of his Tottenham contract but warned the club must match his ambition if he is to agree an extension.

Conte initially committed to Spurs on an 18-month deal until the end of next season, although his contract includes an option to extend.

After Wednesday's one-sided 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, the head coach warned Spurs were "in the middle" and suggested it would take more than a year to rebuild the club. "Believe me, we need so much time before we [repair] the situation," Conte said.

His comments have raised the question of whether he can finish what he has started before his current contract expires in summer 2023. Conte insisted the decision to agree an 18-month deal was mutual but suggested Spurs would have to match his ambition if he is to stay long-term.

"We decided together, the club and I, to go for this decision," Conte said ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie against Morecambe. "I don’t need a long contract to be sure to work for a club. I think that the club has to appreciate my job and then to extend my contract. But only if I showed the club I deserve this."

Conte's salary is thought to be worth around £15million per season, making him one the highest-paid coaches in the world.

He continued: "I repeat: I’m not a coach that wants many years of a contract. Also, it’s not fair. Because I know very well I’m a top coach with an important salary for the club. It’s ok, I repeat I’m open to improve the Tottenham situation and I decided to sign a contract with this club and I’m available to give my opinion, to give my vision and it won’t be a problem for me, a short contract – only one year to go.

"It won't be a problem and I don’t want to commit clubs for many years because I understand the salary is an important salary for the club and I have to deserve this type of contract. It’s ok because Tottenham has to be sure 120 per cent to continue to work with me. It’s ok."

Asked if he also had to be "120 per cent sure" about Spurs before agreeing a contract extension, Conte said he was beginning to fully understand the club's position and the level of the players but added: "I’m happy to work with this group because they are giving me great availability.

"But at the same time, you know the club has to know my vision, has to know my opinion about the situation and especially what is our ambition."

Antonio Conte is only contracted to Tottenham until the summer of 2023 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Antonio Conte is only contracted to Tottenham until the summer of 2023 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Conte's comments at Stamford Bridge, where he also warned that Spurs would find it difficult to win any game this season, have also led to suggestions that he could alienate members of his squad.

The Italian, though, insisted he would never sugarcoat the situation for the benefit of his players and said "good lies" would not be sustainable for long.

"My relationship with my team, my players is based on the truth and not only here but also in the past," Conte said. "Because when I was a player, I hated the coach that tells me good lies to keep me calm and to stay relaxed and in a good relationship.

"If you want to improve, it is important of the player to listen every time [to] the truth and I think my players know very well what I think about the situation.

"After the game against Chelsea I was very clear. I said my vision and I said the truth. We have space for improvement and we started to analyse the game against Chelsea and for sure for us it will be a good example to improve. Not only the tactical aspect but also the mentality.

"This type of game needs much more commitment not only tactically and physically but also mentally and I think we can use this game to improve in other aspects that the people can see outside.

"After a loss you can learn more than after a win. After a defeat you can learn more and with my players they know very well that I’ll tell them always the truth because with the truth you can improve. With good lies I think that you don’t have a long time to live."

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