Antonio Conte has revealed why he turned down the chance to manage Tottenham, with Spurs having been keen to appoint the former Inter boss, writes the Goal.
The Italian coach delivered Inter’s first Serie A title for 11 years in 2020-21, only to exit weeks later amid reports the club would be forced to sell first-team players due to financial pressures.
Conte looked set for a return to the Premier League – where he previously won the title with Chelsea – as he entered into talks with Spurs, although the 51-year-old ultimately decided against taking over the north London club.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Conte said: “Generally, I like challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career.
“Even the top clubs I coached were never the favourites when I arrived. However, if there’s something that doesn’t convince me I prefer not to accept, regardless of the money.”
Inter president Steven Zhang has previously stated that Conte left because he was not happy with the club’s desire to cut costs due to the financial pressures imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Zhang said earlier this month : “We must reduce costs and control risks. This obviously also influences the transfer market strategy. Our different views on the situation led to the separation.
“What wasn’t fundamental for him, was for the club, and vice-versa. Conte is a top coach, but as president I have to think about the solidity of the club.”
Conte has now had his say, explaining that he still respects Zhang and only wants the best for Inter.
He said: “What I can say is that my project never changed, but it would be nonsense to discuss this now. I don’t want to create controversy or talk about transfers. I respect Zhang and I thank him for choosing me. I love Inter, the club and their fans.
“I wish [new Inter manager] Simone Inzaghi the best of luck because he is a very talented and ambitious coach, I wish all the best to the Nerazzurri.”
The Nerazzurri finished a single point behind Juventus in Conte’s first season in charge, while also losing the Europa League final to Sevilla.
They bounced back last season, winning the Italian top-flight crown in impressive fashion, earning 12 more points than city rivals Milan, who finished second.