Conte loses the plot as Southampton erase two-goal deficit for vital point vs Tottenham
Southampton erased a two-goal deficit with less than 15 minutes to play to snatch a vital point and a 3-3 draw with Tottenham at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.
After the game Antonio Conte vented his frustration at his players, and the club, in an incredible set of interviews and post-match press conference as Daniel Levy made decide to end his reign.
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The result leaves Tottenham (49 points) 4th in the Premier League table, having needlessly missed their chance to leapfrog Manchester United (50 points) for 3rd. The point moves Southampton (23 points) to within a point of West Ham and Bournemouth in 18th and 19th, respectively, but now three points away from safety following results elsewhere on Saturday.
Both sides were forced into a pair of first-half substitutions with players dropping like flies all over the field. Richarlison went off after five minutes, followed by Armel Bella-Kotchap in the 8th minute, then came Jan Bednarek in the 34th and Ben Davies three minutes after him.
Southampton looked like they would make it to halftime with the game still scoreless, until Son Heung-min found Pedro Porro with a brilliant through ball and the Spanish right back lashed the ball over the head of Gavin Bazunu, off the underside of the crossbar and in.
The lead lasted all of 44 seconds into the second half, as Che Adams raced in behind to touch home Theo Walcott’s cross just after the restart.
Harry Kane headed Tottenham back in front in the 65th minute, when Dejan Kulusevski lofted a fantastic left-footed cross to the back post. Spurs’ all-time record goal-scorer rose highest and snuck it just under the crossbar to make it 2-1. It was 3-1 after 74 minutes, as Ivan Perisic hit a bouncing ball through traffic to score his first Premier League goal.
Southampton refused to go down without a fight, though, with Sekou Mara heading the ball down to Walcott atop the six-yard box to sweep it home and give St. Mary’s hope once more.
Hope is a dangerous thing, as they say, especially against a side fighting and scrapping for its survival in the top flight of English football. There were real questions over the minimal contact that Pape Matar Sarr made with Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the 90th minute, but video review upheld the on-field penalty decision and James Ward-Prowse put it where Fraser Forster simply could not get it to snatch an unlikely point for Saints.
Antonio Conte furious at Tottenham’s players
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte did not hold back or mince his words.
He also said this to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports. Safe to say he is far from happy.
Conte then said the following in his press conference after the game when asked if he thought it was a penalty kick for Southampton’s equalizer:
“If we are going to discuss the penalty it means we don’t want to see other situations. For the penalty for me it was not a penalty. I stop, we close the situation. The worst situation is what was happening on the pitch. What has been happening in the last few months, what is happening in my second season.”
“I think that it’s the right moment to speak because I think that after this performance, for me this is unacceptable. We are winning 3-1, in control of the game and you are able to concede two goals and to risk, because also Fraser made a fantastic save in one situation. I think it’s much better to go into the problem, because the problem is that for another time we showed that we are not a team. We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart.
“Before today I prefer to hide this situation and to try to speak, to try to improve the spirit, the situation, with the words, With a lot of situations. Because about tactical or technical aspect, this is one situation. The most important thing if you want to become a strong team, if you want to become competitive, if you want to fight to win, is the desire, the fire that you need to have in your eyes , in your heart, and you have to show this in every moment. In every moment. If I have to compare last season and this season, we have to improve, but now we are worse in this aspect. When you are not a team, anything can happen, in any moment. Today is the last situation.”
Stars of the show; Southampton vs Tottenham player ratings
Southampton will continue their fight to stay in the Premier League on Sunday, April 2 (9 am ET) when they visit another side currently in the bottom-four, West Ham (24 points - 18th place). Tottenham will head to Goodison Park to face another relegation battler in Everton on Monday, April 3.
How to watch Southampton vs Tottenham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11am ET, SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Saints are scrapping away and recent wins against Chelsea and Leicester, plus a draw at Manchester United, has given them hope of staying up. They have been terrible at home this season though, winning just twice and they have the worst home record in the Premier League. They have also scored just twice in their five league games under Ruben Selles and although they are improving defensively, there is a real lack of quality in the final third.
Tottenham are relying on Harry Kane to once again propel them to a top four finish and even Heung-min Son was on the scoresheet last week as they beat Nottingham Forest comfortably. Conte has shown signs he is willing to take more risks in attack and Richarlison took his chance to start last weekend. It will be intriguing to see how Conte sets Spurs up as they are heavy favorites against Southampton.
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor) | QUESTIONABLE: Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (undisclosed)
Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Rodrigo Bentancur (torn ACL - out for season), Hugo Lloris (knee), Yves Bissouma (foot), Ryan Sessegnon (thigh)