Conte tells Arteta to stop complaining after Holding red in Arsenal defeat
- Arteta angered by referee Paul Tierney’s decisions
- Conte: ‘I have listened to him complaining a lot’
Antonio Conte urged Mikel Arteta to stop complaining after the Arsenal manager blamed the referee Paul Tierney for jeopardising his team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
Arteta was livid after Tierney awarded Spurs a 22nd-minute penalty, which Harry Kane converted, and then sent off Rob Holding for a second bookable offence after 33 minutes. Kane added another and Son Heung-min completed the scoring for Spurs in a resounding 3-0 win that keeps alive their hopes of pipping Arsenal for fourth place.
Holding had already been booked for an earlier foul on Son when he then checked his run on to a long ball forward. The result loads the pressure on Arsenal ahead of their trip to Newcastle on Monday night. Spurs, who have closed to within one point of their north London rivals, can overtake them on Sunday when they face Burnley at home.
“If I say what I think I will be suspended for six months and I want to be on the touchline for our next game on Monday night,” Arteta said.
“I want the referee to come in front of the cameras and explain his decisions because we were so excited to play this game and this beautiful occasion was destroyed tonight.
I haven’t spoken with Rob Holding but you can imagine that having to leave so early in a huge match like this is very tough.”
Conte hit back strongly at Arteta, who had annoyed him last month when he complained about Arsenal’s fixture list. To Conte, Arteta had no grounds to moan after Arsenal succeeding in getting the original game at Spurs postponed due to a selection crisis even though it was not influenced by positive Covid cases.
“Arteta is a really good coach but he has just started this job and he has to be more focused on his team and not to keep complaining,” Conte said. “In six months here [at Spurs], I have listened to him complaining a lot. He needs to be more calm. But if he doesn’t want to accept my advice, I don’t care.
“The red card was clear for me and if we want to complain we have the opportunity every game to talk about referees, decisions and postponed games. If you remember, Arsenal did well to postpone this game in an incredible way when only one player had Covid. I didn’t forget this because it made us a bit angry.
“If we want to complain I can also ask why we have to play again on Sunday at 12 o’clock and Arsenal do not play until Monday night and have one more day’s rest.”
Son was unhappy to be substituted as he chased the Premier League’s Golden Boot award. His goal took him to 21 – one behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
“Obviously I want to play always,” Son said. “What can I say? [It’s] the manager’s decision, I have to accept it. He said we have an important game Sunday, that’s why. It’s not a big deal. I’m not angry, just disappointed because I came off. I move on, and Sunday’s another game. I just wanted to keep playing, I just wanted to continue to play.”
On Holding’s second yellow card, Son said: “I couldn’t see because I was down. I was running into the space and he just blocked the run. The ball is coming or not, it was a dangerous challenge. We have VAR. If there was no yellow card then VAR would check it, but look, for me it was a clear foul and clear yellow card.”