Antonio Conte has expressed his admiration for Mikel Arteta ahead of the London derby
Antonio Conte has expressed his admiration for Mikel Arteta ahead of the London derby

Antonio Conte has expressed his admiration for Mikel Arteta ahead of the London derby

Tottenham manager has praised Mikel Arteta and claims that the Gunners Boss has done incredibly well to turn things around at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal is four points ahead of Tottenham on the Premier League table with both teams fighting for a place in the top four to earn a place in next season’s Champions League.

This makes this year’s London derby one of the keenly contested derbies as both Arsenal and Tottenham need the three points to secure a Champions League spot.

What did Conte say?

When quizzed about Arteta’s work at Arsenal ahead of the London derby Antonio Conte said: “We have to try to get three points on Thursday against Arsenal. It won’t be easy because we’re talking about a good, well-organized team,” he said, as reported by Football London.

“Arteta is doing a really good job. He’s been in charge for two and a half years. He could work, to improve his team.”

Antonio Conte has also criticized Arsenal’s decision to postpone the January London derby claiming it created scheduled congestion.

The Italian coach has hit out at Arsenal for deliberately postponing the London derby in January when they had no Covid-19 case.

When quizzed whether he found it disappointing that the London derby was postponed given Spurs’ difficulties due to Covid, Conte replied: ‘To speak now about what happened in the past is not useful,’

‘For sure, it was very strange that our game was postponed for Covid and Arsenal didn’t have one player with Covid.

“We lost a game 3-0 [to Rennes] because the Premier League didn’t want to move our game when we had 9 or 10 players with Covid.

‘At that time, it was unfair what happened, but now this is the past and we have to be focused on the present and try to get the best result.

‘I think this could be a good chance for us to get three points against their whole team because if we played in January they were without many players because they were committed at the African Cup [of Nations] and injuries. I think football is wonderful.

‘Also in this type of game, it’s right to play with two teams and all the players available.’

Conte also brushed aside concerns that he would feel like a failure if Tottenham failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.

‘Personally, in my mind, when I decided to be in charge with Tottenham, I knew very well at the time the situation in front of me,’ said Conte.

‘The team was maybe ninth in the table, only 15 points, but in these 15 points, nine in the first three games and then six in the next seven games.

‘I knew very well the situation wasn’t good and only a crazy person could imagine that with two games to go we’d be in the race for a place in the Champions League. The club didn’t ask me to go for a place in the Champions League or Europa League. They appointed me to try to improve the situation.

‘Now we have to be proud that after a difficult season in many aspects for the club, we’re in this race. In my opinion, in my mind, it’s always a failure when I don’t win, because I’m used to fighting for something important, to have a chance, yes to have a chance to compete with other teams to win trophies and titles.

‘But when I arrived in Tottenham, I was sure it was very very difficult the situation. I tried to improve, not tried, I worked, I worked very hard with my staff and my players to improve the team and to create something, to create a base and I think that we did this.’