Tottenham Hotspur forward Dejan Kulusevski said the players must respect manager Antonio Conte’s words and that he had not felt slighted by the Italian’s stinging criticism of the club.
Conte blasted his players as selfish, lacking team spirit and unable to play under pressure in an extraordinary media conference following Spurs’ 3-3 draw at Southampton.
Asked if he was offended by Conte’s comments, Kulusevski told Sky Sports, “No, because I know what I bring to the team everyday.
“I know that I prepare myself to do as good as I can and that’s why I can always look at myself in the mirror,” added the 22-year-old, who is part of Sweden’s squad for their European Championship qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan.
“Sometimes I know I don’t play well enough and I can take responsibility for that.
“But what (Conte) said is for him (to say), that’s his word. But I respect him, he helped me a lot during my career so he’s still a very important man in the club and in my work.”
Earlier this week, Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg called on Conte to elaborate on his criticism.
Spurs has been eliminated from the domestic cup competitions this season, as well as the Champions League, and Kulusevski said Conte was disappointed, just as the players are.
“I know sometimes we have to be sad and angry, and that’s how he took it,” he said. “We have to respect his words.”
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