By George Sessions, PA
Antonio Conte has played down talk linking him with a return to Juventus and insisted he is enjoying life at Tottenham.
Massimiliano Allegri’s poor start to the new season with Juventus, where they have lost three of their last five games, has sparked speculation the Serie A club could make a managerial change.
Conte enjoyed great success in Turin as a player and manager, winning three consecutive league titles during a trophy-laden spell in charge, but was quick to pour cold water on speculation he could return to Italy.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to rivals Arsenal, the 53-year-old said: “I think this is disrespectful for the Juventus coach and disrespectful for me working for Tottenham.
“We’ve just started the season. Many times I spoke about this topic and I always said I’m happy and enjoying my time with Tottenham. Then we have the whole season to find the best solution for the club and for me.
“For sure, I’m enjoying the time working for Tottenham, to work for Tottenham, with these players. I have a great relationship with the owner and (Fabio) Paratici. I don’t see a problem for the future.
“Now it’s important to be focused. We signed a contract because both parties agree to sign this contract. I don’t see a problem in this moment and I don’t want in the future to listen to someone speak about this because it’s disrespectful to the other coach and to me.”
The Spurs boss also expressed his disappointment at having to speak about a racist incident which involved Richarlison on international duty.
Richarlison scored in Brazil’s 5-1 win over Tunisia on Tuesday at the Parc des Princes but had a banana thrown in his direction while he celebrated his 19th-minute effort.
“Richy played with the national team, scored a goal and then I think what happened is incredible because in 2022 to be witnessing this type of situation is embarrassing for everybody,” Conte said.
“For sure I hope these people can be banned from football for the rest of all their lives but then it is a situation that is very disappointing also to make a comment about this.”
The international break has posed Spurs with some injury concerns ahead of facing Arsenal with captain Hugo Lloris absent for France’s two matches due to a “small injury” in his right thigh.
Dejan Kulusevski has also returned from duty with Sweden with a problem, which casts doubt over his participation in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates.
Conte added: “We have to wait until tomorrow to check some players because they returned from the national team with some physical problems. Tomorrow will be very important, the last training session, to understand the players we can count (on).
“Honestly I don’t want to speak about the injury because I don’t want to give (the) advantage to Arsenal But for sure we have to face some problems, some physical problems.
“We have to know also that we have just started to play the first game in a run that we have to play 13 games in 43 days. For sure we have to try to make the best solution and to try not to take big risks because if we take big risks and lose players for the rest of the games, it will be a disaster.”