EPL

'I think the club is happy about this situation' – Conte relaxed over Tottenham contract talks

By Sports Desk September 29, 2022

Antonio Conte is relaxed regarding his contract situation at Tottenham, despite his current deal expiring at the end of the season.

Although Spurs have a year's option on Conte's deal – which initially runs until 2023, speculation has suggested he could be tempted to return to Juventus at the end of the campaign.

Speaking on Thursday ahead of Tottenham's trip to north London rivals Arsenal, Conte labelled such reports "disrespectful", and the Italian has now said there is no rush to agree fresh terms. 

"There is not [a] contract, there is not [an] option… if the club and the manager want to work together, they will continue to work together. If they don't want to work together, they finish," Conte told reporters.

"The most important thing for me is that I'm really enjoying working with Tottenham, with these players, especially, and the relationship with Daniel [Levy] and Fabio [Paratici] is good. 

"I'm okay and I think the club is happy about this situation. Now, the most important thing for Tottenham's present and Tottenham's future is to get the best possible result [against Arsenal]."

Asked whether the Premier League's upcoming break for the World Cup could represent the ideal time to engage in talks over a renewal, Conte added: "There doesn't exist a right time.

"It could be tomorrow. It could be the last day of the Premier League season. The most important thing for me and the club is to understand we want to continue together, to go in the same direction. 

"Otherwise, I don't see a problem. I said in the past I didn't need another contract to be sure to stay in a club. 

"Also, for the club, it’s a good investment to have a coach like me and my staff. At the right time, I will take the best decision. At this moment, I'm really happy.

"I don't want to push the club about the situation because it's not the right time. We have just started the season and we have a long time to live together and to understand, to continue to work together."

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    Roberto Martinez has blasted the Belgian media for coverage of a "genius" French-based report detailing supposed unrest in the Belgium camp ahead of a huge World Cup match against Croatia.

    Belgium lost 2-0 to Morocco in their second Group F game and must now defeat the 2018 finalists to be sure of advancing to the knockout stage.

    The Red Devils' preparation for that fixture has been hampered this week by discussion of a rift within the team, first reported by RTL and L'Equipe.

    Belgium's players subsequently came together for a meeting – "it wasn't a crisis meeting, as we might have heard from some quarters," insisted Timothy Castagne – as they aim to "show more solidarity" against Croatia.

    Castagne added the reports had "exaggerated a lot" and he had "seen worse", before Martinez, appearing after the defender at a pre-match news conference, suggested his team now knew they were in Qatar "on our own".

    "For us, nothing changes. The standards come from within," the coach said.

    "We were not happy with our two performances. We got the result in the first game, but we were not happy with our performance.

    "The second game was the first time we lost a game by two goals in a major tournament. You can imagine we were not happy with it. We had to react.

    "Then you see the storm on the outside and realise maybe we were listening too much to the noise on the outside before the tournament.

    "You have some outlets in Belgium who are quite happy to jump on fake news. That's quite astonishing. It's made the group quite aware that the least you listen to the noise from outside the better.

    "It's the biggest sporting event in the world, and you can see there are many World Cups being played. Maybe a country like France did a very good job with a story that became the main talking point of some outlets.

    "There is more desire to find negative news around this team, rather than getting the nation together, supporting this team, enjoying the talent of the best generation we ever had in Belgian football.

    "Probably that was a lesson for all of us: we are here on our own. We are here to fight for what we believe. Hopefully the fans, the real fans of the Red Devils, can enjoy the process."

    Pressed on his suggestion the story had come out of France and been intended to hurt Belgium, Martinez replied: "I've got too many things to do in camp to think about where this story comes.

    "What is clear is whoever came up with it, whoever has done it has scored a great goal, an own goal for Belgium.

    "If I'm an opposition and I can weaken another side and get them out of the World Cup, I would do that as a journalist, I would love to win my own World Cup. Whoever's done it is genius."

    Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said his side would not be "fooled" by the reports around the Belgium team, adding: "I don't have an opinion on them and what's happening there.

    "They are the second-best team in the world. That's all I care about. We are not focusing on any other aspects. We are focusing on Belgium, their quality.

    "They cannot forget overnight how to play football. They are a top-notch team. They're number two, and we're number 12."

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid identify Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as new top target Rumour Has It: Real Madrid identify Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as new top target

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    – According to Relevo, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag views the Netherlands' World Cup hero Cody Gakpo as his ideal replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

    – Fichajes is reporting Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all showing interest in 22-year-old Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus amid his excellent performances for Ghana.

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    – The Sun is reporting Chelsea are not happy with both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga and will look to bring in a new first-choice goalkeeper.

    – With Rafael Leao likely leaving Milan at the end of the season, Gazzetta dello Sport claims they will try to fill the void with RB Salzburg's 22-year-old Swiss international Noah Okafor.

  • 'Unplayable' Rashford must deliver every time he plays, says England team-mate Shaw 'Unplayable' Rashford must deliver every time he plays, says England team-mate Shaw

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    Rashford scored England's opener and their final goal in a 3-0 win over their British rivals at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday.

    The victory sent England into the last 16 as Group B winners, and they will now face Senegal for a place in the quarter-finals.

    Rashford, one of four new faces introduced by Gareth Southgate for the game, curled in a wonderful free-kick to break the deadlock early in the second half, before he doubled his tally with a low shot after a mazy run, with Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward allowing the ball through his legs.

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    Rashford, who finished with six shots, only one fewer than the entire Wales team managed combined, had scored eight times in 19 appearances for United this season heading into the World Cup, and Shaw has full faith the 25-year-old will keep up his form.

    "Very confident. I see it day in, day out – what he's doing, how he's training," Shaw added. "He took his chance, I think it was his time to start and for me he took his chance.

    "He needs to keep the standards high now, because he's a really important player."

    Phil Foden was a star of the show along with Rashford.

    Having faced criticism from some quarters for not bringing the Manchester City youngster on against the United States last week, Southgate started Foden in place of Bukayo Saka.

    While Foden took a while to get going, he clicked through the gears as the first half wore on and was on the end of a brilliant Harry Kane delivery to make it 2-0 just 98 seconds after Rashford's opener.

    "Not just the ones that started today, you look at the bench and the quality we have, we have World Class players who if they're not starting can come on and change a game," Shaw said when asked if Foden could be decisive in pushing England deep into the tournament.

    "Phil didn't get a chance against the USA but he came in and was the wonderful player we all know, getting on the ball, making things happen, scoring a very important goal at a crucial time and that’s what we want from all of them. We need them to be like that."

    Rashford revealed after the match that he had recently suffered the loss of a friend, and Shaw – whose grandmother passed away shortly before the World Cup – explained the unique unity of the England camp had been crucial in helping him overcome the loss.

    "One million per cent," Shaw said. "The togetherness is not something I've witnessed in a team before.

    "Everyone is so close together, we get on so well and push each other every day to get better and keep the standards high. It brings everyone closer together."

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