'This season has been s***' – Richarlison rankled by lack of Tottenham playing time

By Sports Desk March 09, 2023

Richarlison accused Tottenham of under-playing him after a painful Champions League exit at the hands of Milan, blaming his lack of action for a "s***" season.

The goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday saw Spurs go out 1-0 on aggregate at the last-16 stage.

Brazil forward Richarlison came on as a substitute after 70 minutes but could not help the hosts find a breakthrough. He has managed just two club goals this season, despite starting 12 games and appearing as a substitute on 13 occasions.

The former Everton and Watford player claims there have been broken promises along the way and hinted at frustration with head coach Antonio Conte.

Speaking frankly, he said: "There is frustration, of course. We're out of the biggest club competition. We can't play like that, needing to score. The team had to play more offensively, especially in the second half.

"There's not a lot to say now, we can't go chasing someone to take the blame. Now there's only the Premier League to play, a training session tomorrow and a match against [Nottingham] Forest in the next round.

"I was playing well, we won against Chelsea and West Ham, and suddenly I was on the bench. I played five minutes against Wolves, asked the reason and no one told me why."

Richarlison said he was told he would start against Milan if he passed a fitness test on Tuesday, but then he found himself benched.

"There are things I can't understand. There was no explanation again," he said. "Let's see what he will tell us tomorrow, but I'm not silly, I'm a professional that works hard every day and I want to play. There hasn't been enough minutes given to me.

"This season, and forgive my language, has been s***. I don't have enough minutes, was injured for a bit, but when I'm on the pitch I give my life.

"I played well in two games, especially against Chelsea, so I think I should have played tonight, but I can't go on crying about it now.

"We have around 15 games to play now and the focus is that. I'll try to score as many goals as I can because the club has paid a lot of money for me and I haven't given enough back on the pitch yet."

It remains to be seen what the ramifications are of his outburst on Wednesday night, and whether his show of passion helps or weakens his case to be included more often.

Tottenham have the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski and Ivan Perisic pushing for attacking places, and Conte cannot include them all and Richarlison.

Yet Spurs, eliminated from the FA Cup by second-tier Sheffield United last week, have failed to net in three straight games for the first time since between April and May 2019.

It might be time to start with the 25-year-old Richarlison, who said of his season's travails: "It's fair to say my injuries didn't help, and I haven't had enough minutes. But now I'll go home, rest, train tomorrow and see if he'll put me in the first eleven next game."

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