Antonio Conte accused Mikel Arteta of ‘complaining a lot’ after Tottenham’s emphatic north London derby win over Arsenal and said he should ‘focus more on his team’ than refereeing decisions.
Arteta was clearly fuming with the performance of referee Paul Tierney after his side were beaten 3-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday night, refusing to comment on the officials as he claimed an honest assessment would result in a ‘six-month suspension’.
Spurs were awarded a penalty midway through the first half as Cedric Soares was penalised for blocking Son Heung-min in the box. Shortly after, Rob Holding was sent off for a second yellow card, with both fouls committed on Son.
Kane doubled Tottenham’s lead shortly after Holding’s red card and Son put the game to bed immediately after half-time as Spurs kept their Champions League hopes alive, closing the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal to just one point with two games to play.
Following Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat, Arteta was asked about some of the decisions made in the game and said: ‘I don’t know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think.
‘I cannot say what I think. I am not unhappy with my players. I am proud of my players. I want the referees to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.’
But Conte says Arteta’s complaints are an all too common sight and has ‘advised’ the Arsenal boss to ‘focus more on his team’.
‘I listened to him complain a lot,’ Conte said of his rival manager. ‘I think he has to focus more on his team and now to complain.
‘He has to focus more on his work and be calm. He has to continue to work because he’s very good. But to hear a coach complain all the time is not good.
‘At Liverpool do you hear me complain about Fabinho and all the fouls? No. He can take my advice if he wants, but if not I don’t care.
‘He complained about the fixtures and that was after Arsenal had an unbelievable postponement with just one Covid case.
‘Now we’re playing at 12pm on Sunday and they don’t play until Monday. We can’t always complain.’
Despite their impressive win, Tottenham will still need Arsenal to slip up in one of their final two games to secure a top-four finish, presuming Conte’s side beat Burnley on Sunday and Norwich City next weekend.
On the top-four race, Arteta said: ‘This game is history. Now it’s Newcastle. This is gone.
‘It went out of our hands and we have to accept it. Now we need to be the team that you saw from the beginning.
‘You lose a football match in the conditions we lost them. It’s painful. But we have a huge match on Monday so we will try to beat them.
‘We have two games to play each. It’s in our hands and now we have to do our jobs. We showed from the beginning in this game.’
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