Conte ‘hates people’ who ‘intimidate’ officials amid Arsenal FA Charge; Tottenham star ‘ready to play’

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte has indicated that he “hates people” who purposefully “intimidate” match officials as it is “not fair”.

Spurs host North London rivals Arsenal this weekend. Emotions usually run high when the sides meet with each time having a player sent off in the last two matches in 2022.

Conte was asked on Friday if he has any concerns about Arsenal after they have been charged for failing to control their players in their last two games against Newcastle and Watford.

He said: “No (concerns) but I like in an important game like this, (to see) 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. Don’t forget that we are talking always about a game of football.

“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.”

While Conte expects both sides to show respect on the pitch, he conceded on the touchline will be two managers who show passion.

“For sure, (Mikel) Arteta is a coach like me, we show our passion,” he added.

“What happens on the pitch is the moment, the emotion and nothing can prepare your mind for this.

“For this reason, sometimes you can celebrate in a strange way. This passion is a pure passion and Arteta is another coach who likes to live the game, likes to stay on the pitch with his team.”

Tottenham look set to be boosted by the return of Dejan Kulusevski for Sunday’s derby.

The Swedish attacker has missed the last three matches with a minor muscle injury but is backed to be fit to face Arsenal.

Conte was less forthright about Rodrigo Bentancur and Richarlison (both hamstring) with a sense of caution surrounding the pair.

He revealed: “For Kulusevski, he had a training session in the last few days with us. I think he is going to be ready to play.

“About Richy and Rodrigo, both situations are improving.

“For us, it is very important to have patience, especially because these are important players for a long period.

“To accelerate the process to risk the recovery and to lose them for a long period again, is not good, is not positive. We have another training session tomorrow to monitor the situation about Rodrigo and Richy.”

Fellow attacker Lucas Moura remains sidelined with an Achilles tendon injury and Conte confirmed a decision had been made by the club not to extend his contract beyond the end of this season.

READ MORE: Big Weekend… Manchester derby, Tottenham v Arsenal, Frank Lampard, Mitrovic back in Toon


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