Stop whining and focus on your team: Conte to Arteta

LONDON • Tottenham manager Antonio Conte told Mikel Arteta to stop complaining and focus on his own team, after the Arsenal boss criticised the referee following Thursday's 3-0 Premier League defeat that cut his side's advantage in the top-four race to just one point.

Arteta was left fuming after referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot in the 22nd minute - with Harry Kane converting the penalty - and then showed a second yellow to Rob Holding 11 minutes later for a foul on Son Heung-min.

"If I say what I think, I am suspended for six months," said the Spaniard. "I don't know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think... it's a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today."

Conte, whose team eased to a home victory on the back of a Kane double and a strike from Son, was unhappy with Arteta's assessment of the referee.

"Mikel Arteta is a really good coach. He's just started to do this job and I think that I hear him complain a lot. I think that he needs to be focused more on his team and not to complain," he said.

"The red card for me it was clear. Don't forget against Liverpool I said nothing what happened with Fabinho (who received only a yellow for elbowing Son)."

The Italian also hinted that it was unfair that Arsenal were able to get the original fixture in January rearranged, on the grounds of Covid-19, even though their squad had only one positive case.

"Arsenal were good to postpone a game in an incredible way with Covid and they only had one player with Covid. I didn't forget this. If he wants to complain, we have a lot to complain," said Conte.

Tottenham have now won three successive home league games against Arsenal for the first time since 1961.

Thursday's win means they are still in the hunt for a top-four finish, having been eighth when Conte took charge in November.

Fourth-placed Arsenal, who lead Spurs (65) by a point with two games remaining, travel to Newcastle on Monday while Conte's side host Burnley tomorrow.

"This game is history. Now it's Newcastle. This is gone. It went out of our hands and we have to accept it," Arteta added.

"Now we need to be the team that you saw from the beginning.

"You lose a football match in the conditions we lost them, it's painful. But we have a huge match on Monday."

Worryingly for Arteta, he is running out of defenders. Holding will be suspended while Gabriel went off injured and Ben White was not risked despite being on the bench.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Stop whining and focus on your team: Conte to Arteta. Subscribe