Conte dismisses talk of Tottenham unrest; Rangnick hits out at Maguire-Ronaldo reports
Both Antonio Conte and Ralf Rangnick had bees in their bonnets when they spoke to the media on Friday ahead of the Premier League action this weekend.
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Conte revealed he is unhappy with certain interviews being taken out of context and people suggesting there is a rift between himself and Tottenham’s chairman Daniel Levy.
While Rangnick has rubbished reports that he has held talks with Harry Maguire (his current captain) and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo about potentially changing captains as suggestions continue that all is not well behind-the-scenes at Manchester United.
Below is more from both managers, who are feeling the heat in the top four battle.
Conte hits out at coverage of his honest interviews
Antonio Conte has been increasingly honest and open in recent months, as he talked about the situation Tottenham find themselves in and the strength of their squad after the January transfer window.
In a recent interview with Sky Sport in Italy, Conte was quoted as saying that Spurs’ squad is weaker now than it was before the January window and suggested they had lost ‘important’ players such as Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli.
Speaking ahead of Spurs’ trip to Manchester City on Saturday (watch live, 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com), Conte wanted to try and calm things down.
“I don’t understand why someone wants to try to create problems between me, but not only me, also in the past, I read the stories and they create a lot of problems between the coach and the chairman and the club,” Conte said. “The chairman knows very well my thoughts and it is not important for me to go to the media and speak to the media. If I have to tell him something he knows very well I go and speak to him.
“Sorry, I think I was a bit disturbed by this kind of situation. Especially because I had an interview with an Italian media. From now the club don’t want me to speak with Italian media because maybe the translation is not so clear with my thoughts.”
After three-straight Premier League defeats, things have unravelled quite quickly for Conte at Tottenham. He had a fine start to his time in charge of Spurs but it seemed like tension was building behind-the-scenes.
Conte’s latest comments suggest that isn’t the case, and after their trip to Man City this weekend Tottenham must kick on to keep their top four hopes alive.
Maguire to remain Manchester United captain as Rangnick slams reports
As for Rangnick, the interim Manchester United head coach called reports that he had sat down with Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo ‘nonsense’ and confirmed that Maguire would remain his captain despite his recent struggles.
“This is absolutely nonsense. I’ve never spoken to any player about a possible change of captaincy. Harry’s fully aware of that and so is Cristiano and all the other players,” Rangnick said. “This has never been an issue for me. It is me who decides the captain and there is no reason for me to speak about that with any other person. Harry is our captain and will remain the case until the end of the season. There is nothing else to add on to that.”
Rangnick was also asked about the reports suggesting there is a rift in the squad at Manchester United,
“I’m not frustrated at all as I know it’s not the truth. I’ve told you already about Harry being the captain and it not an issue at all,” Rangnick said. “It’s never been an issue for us and for me. All the other things I don’t pay attention to. I don’t listen to the noise as my full focus is on preparing the team for the next training and for the next game.
“I have heard about what was written but all I can tell you is from my own personal experience in the last 11-12 weeks, yes there were players unhappy until the closure of the window as the squad was too big and we had too many players who realised they couldn’t get game time. This has improved for sure. The atmosphere is better in the locker room than it was a few weeks ago. For us, it’s about performing well and showing a togetherness on the pitch, getting the best out of our performances and winning games. These are the things we can influence.”