‘I want to suffer’: Antonio Conte keen to watch Arsenal’s game in top four scrap

Spurs climbed above their north London rivals in the race for Champions League qualification.

Jonathan Veal
Sunday 15 May 2022 15:45
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Antonio Conte is relishing the battle for a top four spot (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Antonio Conte is relishing the battle for a top four spot (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte says he is ready to “suffer” when watching Arsenal’s game with Newcastle on Monday night after his side moved into the top four.

Spurs climbed above their north London rivals in the race for Champions League qualification after an edgy 1-0 win over Burnley, which was secured by Harry Kane’s controversial first-half penalty.

Arsenal have to beat Newcastle to reclaim the upper hand going into the final day and the whole of north London will be watching wanting different outcomes.

“I think first of all we had to do our task and to win and get three points and put some pressure on Arsenal,” Conte said.

“We know very well it is not easy to play against Newcastle and especially when they arrive with the new manager and are in a good spell and not an easy game.

“But it will be the same for us in Norwich, and the last game against Everton for Arsenal.

“For sure I will watch the game because I love football and I want to watch and I want also to suffer.

“But I think it is a big achievement for the last game to have the possibility to take a place into Champions League because I don’t forget our path since November and we will see what happens.

“I also think Arsenal did a really good job this season because they didn’t play in Europe and now they have a chance to play in the Champions League.”

The win against Burnley, which came just 62 hours after the 3-0 victory over the Gunners on Thursday night, came as a result of a controversial Kane penalty in first-half added time.

Referee Kevin Friend ruled that the ball flicked Ashley Barnes’ outstretched arm after a VAR check, but there were minimal appeals from the Spurs players at the time.

The Clarets were furious with the decision, surrounding referee Friend while both benches clashed in the tunnel at half-time.

Conte had no doubts that it was a penalty, though.

“I think 200 per cent a penalty, not 100 per cent,” Conte said.

“It was so clear. It was very difficult to understand the complaints, if your arm is in this way and you take the ball, I think it is very, very clear, honestly.”

Burnley boss Mike Jackson, unsurprisingly, took a different view of the incident, which saw his side stay deep in the relegation mire.

“I have just watched it back. I don’t think it is a penalty,” he said.

“You have to look at it in context of what has just happened, it is an 18-yard box, bodies in it, people competing.

“Ashley is trying to keep his balance, how he can get out of the way of it, I don’t know. You can’t stand in an 18-yard box with your arms by your side.

Kane’s penalty made the difference (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“You don’t do that. I don’t know if the referee has played football. Nobody has even appealed for a penalty.

“I am annoyed at that but on the flipside I am really proud of the group. They have had a right go today. I have seen a group that was fighting and had that spirit. I don’t want to take away my annoyance on that.

“You have got to use some common sense and what the context is. I don’t know how you can keep your arms down and I have played there for years.

“I can understand if someone sticks their hands up in a reaction but it has been given and you have to take it on the chin.”

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