Antonio Conte has admitted that he ‘hates’ those who attempt to ‘intimidate’ match officials ahead of Tottenham’s crunch clash against bitter rivals Arsenal tomorrow.
With FA Cup action out of the way, it’s a return to league duty for Tottenham and arguably the biggest game of the season lies ahead.
Arsenal travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow afternoon in the north London derby in a crucial game for both sides. Rivalries aside, Arsenal will be keen to strengthen their impressive title challenge, while Spurs desperately need to keep pace with the leading pack in the race for another top four finish.
While Spurs came out on top last season, pipping the Gunners to the top four, it is Arsenal who have all the bragging rights at the moment. Mikel Arteta’s side are currently five points clear of second placed Manchester City, and 11 points ahead of Spurs.
While their football has been impressive, Arsenal have been charged twice by the FA for failing to control their players.
When asked in his pre-match press conference if he was concerned about this aspect, he told the Evening Standard: “In an important game like this, the respect is always at the top, OK? You have to show respect in every situation and especially also with the referee because I know very well the difficulty to be a referee, to take decisions.”
“I think to intimidate or to create a bad atmosphere is not fair. I don’t like this. I hate the people that try to do it,” Conte continued.
The Italian is well aware of his own incidents with referees, adding: “Sometimes it happens in the emotion. I remember very well against Sporting Lisbon, we scored in the 95th minute and then we stayed five minutes to wait for the VAR decision.”
“I was really upset but I never, never lacked the respect of the referee. Then, he sent me away because I went into the pitch but I think in every moment you have to show respect. Don’t forget this is football, an incredible sport and we have to respect each other,” he added.
Spurs Web Opinion
I know we are all biased as Tottenham supporters but there really is a lot to dislike about this Arsenal side, and I think much of that comes from the behaviour of Arteta and the example he sets for his squad.
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