Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has told Tottenham manager Antonio Conte he must ‘elaborate’ on his criticisms of the squad before action can be taken.
Conte delivered an explosive press conference in the aftermath of Spurs’ 3-3 draw with Southampton, claiming his players are ‘selfish’ and unprepared to deal with the pressure that comes with striving for success.
It’s an outburst which could ultimately lead to Conte’s departure, with sources telling 90min that a number of club officials believe the Italian’s position is no longer tenable.
Hojbjerg, who is away on international duty with Denmark, is the first Spurs player to speak publicly about Conte’s criticism.
“I think we’ve all seen it. Very honest and very open press conference he gave. It is because he is not satisfied. You don’t do that if you’ve reached the quarter-final of the Champions League and if you’re in the semi-final of the FA Cup,” he told a press conference.
“It comes from the fact that, unfortunately, we did not get the results we as a team and club wanted. We are still where we want and need to be in the Premier League. But yes, it’s hard, I should say.
“I understand that if you want to be successful as a team, you need 11 men who are committed to a project and a culture. But I think he has to elaborate on how he feels before you as a player can start measuring and weighing.
“The coach has not been satisfied, and that is what I will take with me. You do what you can to please him. What I do know about myself is that I am an honest player. I am a player who always gives 100% of myself for the team.”
Hojbjerg also revealed Conte did not warn the players before speaking to the media.
“Let me put it this way: He didn’t tell us what he wanted to say at the press conference,” the midfielder explained. “But it is clear that you work with each other every day, you want the best for each other and you want to be successful together. And sometimes the waves go high in football.”
Finally, asked whether he was offended by Conte’s words, Hojbjerg stressed: “That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that if that’s how he sees it, then you have to be a little more precise in order for you as a player to take it to heart.”
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