Antonio Conte insists he remains committed to his “project” at Tottenham as they prepare to begin 2023 by facing London rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Conte has been linked with an exit on several occasions since joining Spurs, and that speculation reared its head again in the aftermath of their 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.
That defeat saw Tottenham hand the initiative to Manchester United in the battle for a top-four finish, but Conte remains committed to the north London club despite their poor form.
“This is a discussion between me and the club, you understand? Now I am really committed for this club,” he said.
“Then there is this project and I signed a contract with this club, and I have to accept this project to try to build with the club.
“Then you know during this process, 1,000 things can happen. The club can sack the manager or there are different visions, different situations.
“I am happy to stay here. I am enjoying my time at Tottenham, I am happy with the way that I am working. I am always saying this.”
Crystal Palace endured a disappointing first outing when the Premier League resumed, going down 3-0 to Fulham on Boxing Day, but they bounced back with a New Year’s Eve win at Bournemouth.
Boss Patrick Vieira was delighted with their response on the South Coast, saying: “It was a relief, as some people doubted us, the team and the players.
“I always said I knew my players, I know how well they can play. It is important for me and everyone at the football club to trust the players we have.
“Especially when you have a young group of players, and players who are new in the Premier League, there will be some ups and downs.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Crystal Palace – Eberechi Eze
Eze found the net as Palace beat Bournemouth last time out, and the creative midfielder has teed up more chances (28) and played more passes into the final third (157) than any of his Eagles team-mates in the Premier League this campaign.
Tottenham – Hugo Lloris
No Premier League player has made more errors leading to goals than Lloris’ three this season. If Tottenham are to end their poor run, the World Cup finalist will need to rediscover the form he displayed in Qatar before the turn of the year.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Crystal Palace won this exact fixture 3-0 last season – they’ve never won consecutive home league games against Spurs before.
– Of every Premier League side they’ve played more than 20 times, only against Sunderland (66 per cent) do Tottenham have a higher win rate than they do against Crystal Palace (58 per cent – won 15 of 26 meetings).
– Tottenham have fallen two goals behind in four of their last five away Premier League games (W1 D1 L2), including each of their last three, although they’ve avoided defeat in their last two (3-2 vs Bournemouth, 2-2 vs Brentford). No team has ever gone two or more goals behind in three consecutive away games and avoided defeat in each one.
– Crystal Palace have won just two of their last 15 Premier League games in January (D6 L7), beating Sheffield United and Wolves in 2021. They have won none of their last 10 London derbies in the month (D3 L7).
– Spurs boss Antonio Conte has lost two of his five Premier League matches against Crystal Palace, both with Chelsea in 2017. He’s only lost more Premier League games against Manchester United (four).