Former Tottenham boss calls out Antonio Conte for suggesting his players crumble under pressure

Antonio Conte - Tottenham Hotspur v Sporting CP, UEFA Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp insists Antonio Conte is wrong to suggest that his players crumble under pressure ahead of the Champions League clash at AC Milan on Tuesday evening.

Spurs head to the San Siro for the first leg of the last-16 tie in the midst of an injury crisis, with Hugo Lloris, Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma all on the sidelines, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is banned.

The return leg will be in three weeks’ time, but Conte will be hoping his side can recover from their mauling at Leicester when they face Milan.

Tottenham looked to have turned the corner when they beat Manchester City. However, their King Power humbling led to strong Conte criticism when he spoke at his press conference on Monday.

The Italian, whose future at the club remains unclear, claimed that the pressure is getting to his players, admitting: “We are working on that, playing under pressure all of the time is good for some players and bad for others. Sometimes players feel motivated, other times feel so much under pressure that they can’t perform.

“Maybe for a period they have a good performance. And then they collapse all of a sudden if they feel too much pressure. We are working on this, we want to make our players more resilient.”

However, Redknapp does not think pressure is an issue for players. And that is especially for those that have been playing at the highest levels for their country.

The former Spurs chief said: “I can’t see that. Listen, he’s got players there that have played… the centre-half [Cristian Romero] played in a World Cup-winning team, Richarlison played for Brazil at the World Cup, Harry Kane, Son – surely they can handle pressure.

“I don’t see that really, unless he’s trying to gee them up and wind them up. They handled pressure the week before, when they beat Man City.

“At the moment they’re just inconsistent, you don’t know what Spurs you’re going to get. They chop and change their team so much.”

Tottenham backed to get past Milan

Redknapp also believes his old club has a chance of going deep in the Champions League this season, four years after they reached the final. He added: “The competition is wide open this year.

“It’s a year that there’s no one that jumps out at you. Man City would be favourites probably for me but there’s teams there not in great form at the moment. So there’s a real opportunity to have a real run at the competition, you’ve got to go for it tonight.”

In the absence of Bentancur and Hojbjerg, Conte is expected to turn to Oliver Skipp and Pape Matar Sarr in Milan.

At least Cristian Romero is able to return after missing the Leicester clash through suspension.  Fraser Forster, meanwhile, will continue in goal.

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