Conte explains Tottenham snub.
‘ If there’s something that doesn’t convince me, I don’t accept’
The Italian left Inter weeks after delivering the Serie A title but rejected a return to the Premier League with Spurs.
Antonio Conte has revealed why he turned down the chance to manage Tottenham, with Spurs having been keen to appoint the former Inter boss.
The Italian coach delivered Inter’s first Serie A title for 11 years in 2020-21, only to exit weeks later amid reports the club would be forced to sell first-team players due to financial pressures.
Conte looked set for a return to the Premier League – where he previously won the title with Chelsea – as he entered into talks with Spurs, although the 51-year-old ultimately decided against taking over the north London club.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Conte said: “Generally, I like challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career.
“Even the top clubs I coached were never the favourites when I arrived. However, if there’s something that doesn’t convince me I prefer not to accept, regardless of the money.”
Inter president Steven Zhang has previously stated that Conte left because he was not happy with the club’s desire to cut costs due to the financial pressures imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Zhang said earlier this month : “We must reduce costs and control risks. This obviously also influences the transfer market strategy. Our different views on the situation led to the separation.
“What wasn’t fundamental for him, was for the club, and vice-versa. Conte is a top coach, but as president I have to think about the solidity of the club.”
Conte has now had his say, explaining that he still respects Zhang and only wants the best for Inter.
He said: “What I can say is that my project never changed, but it would be nonsense to discuss this now. I don’t want to create controversy or talk about transfers. I respect Zhang and I thank him for choosing me. I love Inter, the club and their fans.
“I wish [new Inter manager] Simone Inzaghi the best of luck because he is a very talented and ambitious coach, I wish all the best to the Nerazzurri.”
After leaving Inter, Conte was targeted by Spurs after they sacked Jose Mourinho last season. However, a number of key issues , such as transfer funds and the future of star striker Harry Kane, prevented a deal being done.
Sporting director Fabio Paratici, meanwhile, is still expected to join the north Londoners, while they have now moved to target former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca as they look at finally appointing a new permanent head coach