'I'm not stupid' – Conte urges Spurs fans to back his judgement over Spence omission

By Sports Desk October 03, 2022

Antonio Conte has told Tottenham fans "I'm not stupid" and "I can teach football to many people" in a strong defence of his decision to overlook Djed Spence.

Spence has made only one very brief substitute appearance for Spurs following his move from Middlesbrough in July.

Some Tottenham fans called for the right-back to be given his chance after Emerson Royal was sent off for a reckless challenge on Gabriel Martinelli during a 3-1 north London derby defeat to fierce rivals Arsenal on Saturday.

But Conte made it crystal clear he is not impressed with questions being asked about his approach ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Spurs head coach said: "If we were able to exploit the situation, especially last passes, we would have been able to score many goals against Arsenal.

"Instead, we made really bad mistakes for the last passes because we had the opportunity to go one-to-one, but every team has to think and understand the way to play different games.

"Last season we won 3-0 [against Arsenal], and when you win, the opponent has to explain, but for me it's important to have a plan, to put my players in the best possible situation to exploit their characteristics.

"Otherwise it can happen that you can concede six, seven or eight goals – in England, that happens a lot of times.

"In my career, it never, never happened because I don't like to play open, concede a lot of space and concede six, seven or eight goals. I won in England, I won in my past and I think I can teach football to many people."

He said of Spence: "The fans have to be fans. They can think anything, but I see every day the training sessions. If I don't decide to pick a player, it's because maybe he's not ready.

"We are talking about a young player with a good prospect, but I try to pick the best team. I'm not stupid, I don't want to lose.

"I try to pick the best team. If they trust me it's okay, if they don't trust me then I'm the coach and I need to take the best decision for Tottenham."

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