Antonio Conte has poked fun at Tottenham, his previous team, by saying that it was “strange to celebrate” fourth place.

A challenging season awaited the Italian coach Antonio Conte as he concluded his tenure at Tottenham. The 54-year-old did, in fact, guide Spurs to the Champions League in his first season in North London.

However, the club failed to maintain a high level of performance in 2022-23. In March, the Italian’s tenure concluded after he went on a tirade following the team’s blown 3-1 lead against Southampton.

Although there were glaring problems on the field, it’s safe to assume that Conte also had a rough season personally. Among his three close friends who passed very suddenly was Gian Piero Ventrone, who had been his fitness coach at Tottenham.

After that, the Italian had to have emergency gallbladder surgery, which meant he couldn’t lead the English side in a string of crucial matches. That’s when his assistant coach Cristian Stellini stepped in.

But Conte was aware that his time with the club was coming to an end. He had finally hit rock bottom with his unrepentant managerial style.

Conte on his Tottenham experience and last match

In a lengthy interview with The Telegraph, the Italian strategist discussed his methods, future goals, and coaching experience, including his stint at Tottenham.

There is still a lot of drama around his leaving. However, the experienced boss has revealed that he has no animosity against the club. “I have good feelings about Tottenham. The fans, the stadium, the training ground – it was a fantastic experience,” he said.

Although he received criticism for speaking out, Conte maintains his stance, blaming his players at the time for refusing to perform under duress.

“At that moment, my feeling was that. If I tell something, it means there is always something true. No, honestly, I don’t regret anything about this. But I have good feelings about Tottenham. I keep this experience in my heart.”

“I am this way, I hate the lies. This can help me sometimes or sometimes can hurt me. But I prefer to stay in silence than to tell a good lie – also the relationship with my players.

“During the season, it can happen that you need an honest conversation that can be positive or negative. I know very well, I was a player as well and some coaches told me good lies to keep me calm. Thus, I don’t want this type of situation.

“I know very well when you have these honest conversations with the players, in the first moment they can be a bit angry. Then, from my experience, the time helps the player to appreciate you. They were angry, but then they appreciate the honesty.”

Conte on his Tottenham celebrating fourth spot

Taking over for Nuno Espirito Santo in November 2021, the former Inter coach found Spurs mired in ninth position in the league. Even though it was a rough road, the Italian strategist led them to an incredible rally that placed them fourth.

Even though they qualified for the Champions League, Conte thought it was “really strange” to rejoice because of his lofty expectations for success.

“For me, now it’s impossible to work for an only entertainment team because the expectation is always that you have to win. I love my past, but at the same time the expectation you bring is always very high and if you don’t win, you have failed. The best possible option is to entertain and win.

“And to be celebrated, I have to win. Otherwise, the others are waiting to celebrate my failure. This is the truth. For me, to celebrate fourth place and a place in the Champions League was really strange,” he added.

“At the end of the final game against Norwich, I called my staff and said, ‘Pay attention, don’t be used to celebrating a Champions League place.’ I was very clear. I said we did the maximum. From ninth to fourth place, with all the problems we faced, was a miracle. But we didn’t celebrate like it was a miracle because I am used to winning,” he added.