Santini 'couldn't work' with Dane

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The Independent Online

Jacques Santini has broken his silence over his resignation as head coach of Tottenham last week, admitting for the first time that he left for footballing reasons, not because of personal problems.

Jacques Santini has broken his silence over his resignation as head coach of Tottenham last week, admitting for the first time that he left for footballing reasons, not because of personal problems. He found it impossible to work under the club's Danish director of football, Frank Arnesen, and decided to go a full fortnight before finally walking out.

Working for the French television station TPS at White Hart Lane yesterday, Santini said via a translator: "Right from the off there was a problem with who was in charge. Particularly when it came to buying players, we never found a way of agreeing how to prepare the season and buy players.

"I was told I'd be in charge of all first-team matters. I'd buy and sell players and do the coaching. It became clear I was only in charge of coaching and not buying."

Tottenham responded strongly last night by accusing Santini of being economical with the actualité about his motives for leaving. "My respect for Jacques has suddenly gone because he's obviously not told me the truth," the club chairman, Daniel Levy, said. "The comments he's made are absolutely not true. I find it totally incomprehensible that Jacques claimed not to have understood the role he took or his contract, which spelled it out."

The split became evident when Arnesen bought Michael Carrick, the West Ham midfielder, at a time when Santini had made it clear he wanted a striker as back-up to Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Frédéric Kanouté.

"Yes, it's true," Santini confirmed. "I didn't need another defensive midfielder. What I really wanted was another centre-forward. Jan Koller was one of the centre-forwards we really wanted, but there wasn't enough money. I reminded people of the problem just before the Portsmouth match [16 October]. They said they weren't that bothered and that was when I realised there was no way of going forward."

In his original statement immediately after resigning on the eve of last Saturday's game at home to Charlton Athletic, Santini spoke of private and personal reasons for leaving, reportedly a family illness and the club backed up that impression. But yesterday Santini insisted: "All I can say is I have no massive family problems."

In 13 games with Santini as head coach, working with current head coach Martin Jol and Chris Hughton as his assistants, Tottenham won five, drew four and lost four. They began the season well, not losing until Manchester United's visit in late September, by which time a lack of goals was causing problems. By the time he resigned they had failed to score in five of the last seven Premiership matches.

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