Richarlison’s wait for a first competitive start since moving to north London from Everton in a high-profile £60million transfer earlier this summer goes on, but he continues to impress during cameos off the bench, including in Sunday’s 2-0 win at the City Ground.
The Brazilian international, a 74th-minute replacement for the struggling Heung-min Son, was rewarded for his determination and perseverance for Tottenham’s crucial second goal against Forest, recovering possession after fellow substitute Ryan Sessegnon looked to have botched an incisive counter-attack and delivering a sumptuous cross with the outside of his boot that was headed home by Harry Kane to make sure of a hard-fought three points.
However, as ever controversy was not too far away, with Richarlison then criticised for standing and juggling the ball out on the left flank during the closing stages as Tottenham sought to protect their two-goal advantage with time running out.
Such a braggadocious act infuriated Forest forward Brennan Johnson, who promptly clattered into the former Watford star and was shown a yellow card by refereee Craig Pawson.
Providing co-commentary duties for Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher - who has previous with Richarlison but embraced the ex-Toffee after the game - said: “Woah! It does wind people up. You can’t do that. But what is he doing?
“He just winds people up that lad, Richarlison. He winds me up. What do you expect Johnson to do? You’re not condoning that but...”
Forest boss Cooper was also left infuriated by Richarlison, telling reporters: “I wouldn’t want my players to do that, what Richarlison did. But if that’s accepted at Spurs then that’s nothing to do with me. But it wouldn’t be accepted here, that’s for sure.”
However, Conte has since come to the defence of his player, insisting that his actions were in no way intended to be disrespectful.
“He juggled with the ball,” the Spurs head coach said. “It is a game and you are under pressure. I repeat it is OK. I don’t think Richy wanted to show disrespect to Nottingham Forest.
“Forest are a really good team with a great history in football and we have a great respect. Richy for sure thinks in the same way. Not disrespectful for anyone and I can tell you this.”
As Son’s goalless run continues and with Tottenham facing a gruelling run of seven games in just 21 days, Richarlison - who was suspended for the first game of the season due to a Football Association (FA) ban for throwing a flare while celebrating a goal with Everton last term - could well make his maiden Spurs start in the London derby against West Ham on Wednesday night.