Harry Kane has broken his silence on Antonio Conte’s exit and reflected on the ‘great relationship’ he had with the Italian before he was mutually shown the door by Tottenham.
Conte literally went to war with his squad after Spurs shipped two late goals to draw 3-3 with bottom club Southampton on March 18, a post-match press conference where he called his players “selfish” and unprofessional and said they do not like playing “under pressure”.
Just eight days later a Cristian Stellini-led Tottenham side threw away another lead at 10-man Everton, although they did bounce back to beat Brighton 2-1 in fortunate circumstances on Saturday.
Many Spurs players were known to have been unhappy with Conte’s comments, although Kane just wishes his old boss luck in whichever role he takes up next.
“Obviously I wish Antonio all the best,” Kane said after scoring the winner against the Seagulls. “I had a great relationship with him and it was just unfortunate that for one reason or another it didn’t quite work.
“I wish him luck in his next adventure and in the meantime we’ll continue to fight with Cristian, Ryan [Mason, acting assistant head coach] and the staff and try and achieve what we set out to.
“I’m not going to get into [what Conte said]. It was an emotional moment after we should have won the game and to concede two goals in the way we did, we were all disappointed.
“He’s a great man, his emotions come out at times and that’s who he is and he owns that. Us players we talk amongst ourselves [about the need] to keep fighting and keep improving. We know that Southampton game, we know the Everton game last week we need to do better in those moments when we’re leading. Overall, all we can do is keep trying to fight and that’s what we’ll do.”
Kane promises Tottenham ‘fight’ in top-four race
Kane, whose own long-term future remains in doubt, admits Tottenham were made to work incredibly hard for their win over Brighton on Saturday. Indeed, the visitors receiving an apology from the PGMOL after they were denied a penalty when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg caught Karou Mitoma at 1-1.
“Those points always feel a little bit better when you grind them out,” Kane added. “Brighton are a really good team, they play some good football and they had their fair share of chances and so did we.
“In that second half it was just going to be the moment who was going to take their chance and we did that. After we had to show some grit, some good defending and that’s what we’ve needed to get better at over the last few games. A really important win for us, for the fans and everyone because we have Bournemouth next week and then we go into a really tough week against teams around us in the league.
“There has been a lot of noise around us this season and we know especially in all competitions we probably haven’t been as good as we want to be,” Kane added.
“The bottom line is we’re still in a position to get top four and it’s important for the club. We know we need to improve, we know there are areas where we need to get better at. For this season now until the end of the season all we can do is fight with what we have. We’ve got a few injuries that hopefully are coming back soon.
“That’s what we have to do. We can’t think about the past, about the future, it’s about doing what we can now and that’s what we’ll try to do now.”
Spurs are back in action on Saturday when they host Bournemouth in the Premier League.