Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has admitted there is an issue between himself and the club over his long-term future, but the Italian insists he is “happy” at Spurs.
The north London side were beaten 2-0 at home by Aston Villa on Sunday – their fourth loss in seven Premier League games – in a defeat that saw them slip out of the top four.
Conte, whose Spurs contract expires at the end of the season, hit out afterwards at the “crazy” expectations around his side and claimed the club need to be signing two players worth £50-70m every season if they are to become serious title contenders.
Asked ahead of Wednesdays match at Crystal Palace, which is live on Sky Sportswhether he wants to be a long-term part of Spurs’ project, he replied: “This is a problem [an issue] between me and the club. Now I am really committed to this club and to Tottenham.
“Then there is this project and I signed a contract with this club and I have to accept this project and try to build and help the club with this project.
“During this process a 1,000 things can happen. The club can sack the manager or there are different visions, different situations.”
last month, Sky Sports News reported Conte and Spurs had resumed contract talks, with the club having the option to extend his current deal by a year.
But a new contract is yet to be agreed, leaving the 53-year-old’s future at Spurs in doubt.
Asked whether he was happy at Spurs, he replied: “I’m happy. I’ve always told you that I’m happy.
“I’m happy to stay here. I’m enjoying my time at Tottenham.
“I’m happy with the way that I’m working, but I’m happy doesn’t mean I don’t tell you what we are doing.
“We are trying to create a base, a foundation. It’s difficult for me every day to answer the same thing but you are not understanding [what I’m saying].
“I’m happy to stay here because I’m at a modern club and I have a good relationship with the players.
“But I’ve explained the way that we are. I didn’t suggest anything.
“There are times I go to my home and I think I have to study English much more because I’m not good at transferring my thoughts to you. Either I’m not good or you don’t want to understand what I’m saying.”
Bentancur to miss Palace | Kulusevski a doubt
Injury problems continue to cause Conte further headaches with key midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur to miss the Palace game and Saturday’s third-round FA Cup tie against Portsmouth.
The 25-year-old has been absent for both of Spurs’ games since the World Cup finished after picking up an injury in Qatar with Uruguay.
Conte said: “About Rodrigo Bentancur, he has started to work. He’s still not ready for this game [Palace away] and also for the FA Cup game, but we hope to have him for the next Premier League game.”
Conte could also be without Dejan Kulusevski at Selhurst Park on Wednesday after the influential Swedish winger missed Sunday’s defeat against Aston Villa with a slight muscle injury.
“Kulusevski is not a serious injury but we have to monitor it day by day,” Conte said. “Today and tomorrow then we have to take the best decision.
Asked whether the 22-year-old will face Palace, he replied: “I don’t know, honestly.
“We have today and tomorrow to check his situation. For sure, we’ll see. The injury is not serious.
“If the player gives his availability, he could play. Otherwise we have to wait and have to have patience for the next game.”
Conte also confirmed Richarlison will have an MRI scan soon on a hamstring injury he suffered with Brazil at the World Cup.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp fears cracks are appearing in Conte’s relationship with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and feels the Spurs head coach may even be looking to engineer his exit from the club.
Asked in the Sky Sports studio whether he believes the club will meet Conte’s demands on Super Sunday, Redknapp said: “£60-70m every year? No, that’s not how Daniel Levy works.
“That’s not the kind of business they want to do. They want to buy good young players, improve them and then try to sell them on.
“It doesn’t make up for the fact they were poor today. No [Dejan] Kulusevski, who has been important, or [Rodrigo] Bentancur, who has been instrumental.
“But I don’t like the way this is shaping up, with Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy. I can see cracks appearing, [Mauricio] Pochettino in the wings, I don’t feel this is going to end up the way it should do.
“I’m a big Antonio Conte fan but I think there’s going to be a fallout pretty soon.”
In addition to mentioning the availability of former Spurs boss Pochettino, who is currently without a job following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, Redknapp said he feels Conte is provoking Levy.
“For Levy to change how he’s done it for many years, it’s just not going to happen. The more you provoke him, the more you’re going to upset him.
“He’s definitely searching for something right now, Conte, and it looks like he’s looking for an exit clause.
“Levy will hate that kind of message being sent to him. Conte is very emotional but that’s typical.
“They want the best for the club, it’s his club, his team, his passion.”