Antonio Conte refused to commit his long-term future to Tottenham after they were knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan and says Spurs fans need “time and patience” for the club to build towards winning a trophy.
Spurs have not won silverware since lifting the League Cup back in 2008, and their Champions League round of 16 exit to AC Milan has effectively spelled the end of any faint hopes of a trophy this season having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship side Sheffield United while they currently sit 18 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Their most recent defeat was Conte’s first game back in charge since recovering from gallbladder surgery, and his recent health problems have added to the speculation that the Italian could leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this season.
The 53-year-old again refused the chance to commit his long-term future to the club following the loss to AC Milan, and believes Spurs are not yet in a position to win a trophy.
“At the end of the season, we’ll meet and make a decision,” he said.
“I think the situation is really clear. I think it’s one year and three months since I started to be the coach of Tottenham and I always say the same things, that we need to have time and patience because in this moment we don’t have a solid foundation to be competitive and to fight to win in my opinion.
“We tried to work and to understand which are the right players to continue to create a solid foundation and then use the transfer market to try to find a resolution to improve the team.
“But at the moment, the club knows very well what my thoughts are. I have a great relationship with my chairman, with Fabio Paratici, but it doesn’t mean I don’t tell them my vision.
“Then we’ll see. Now we have to finish the season. I have a contract until June, I’m happy to work in Tottenham but at the end we’ll make a decision.
“The club knows very well what my vision is and what my thoughts are about the situation.”
The loss to Milan ends a dismal week-and-a-half for Spurs, having suffered three defeats including their FA Cup exit to Sheffield United and also a 1-0 Premier League loss to Wolves.
With Harry Kane approaching his 30s and Tottenham’s trophyless run stretching even further, there is yet more pressure for the club to end their silverware drought soon.
But Conte is adamant that it will not be a quick fix.
“I’m really sorry for the fans but we cannot invent the win. This is important to know,” he explained.
“We cannot invent the win or hope for one miracle one day that a trophy goes into our training ground or our pitch. We have to build and we have to have patience.
“I understand for the fans that they don’t have patience because for a long time, Tottenham is not winning, but what I can promise is that we will continue to work really hard for this club to try to improve and then we’ll see what happens.
“I think Sheffield United was unacceptable but today for the opponent, for the trophy that we play in, I don’t like to lose but it can happen.
“Last season, don’t forget, we played the Conference League and two years ago, Europa League. Now this season we are playing again in the Champions League.
“To play Champions League, you know you have improved your level. The level is high.”