Tottenham wing-back Ryan Sessegnon has insisted that he and his team-mates have not been unsettled by talk of Antonio Conte leaving the club during the summer.
Rumors arose last week that Conte was a contender to replace the under-fire Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain — The Athletic analyzed the likelihood of any potential job swap.
On Friday, Conte called the PSG rumors “fake news”, but also refused to commit his future to Tottenham. He also said that he wanted to compete for more than just a place in the Champions League or Europa League.
Tottenham comfortably defeated Leicester City 3-1 at the weekend to keep up with Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification.
Sessegnon started that match, featuring in the wing-back position characteristic of Conte’s teams, and has enjoyed his most regular spell in the Tottenham first team under the Italian coach.
Asked whether he hoped Conte stayed, he replied: “Of course, he’s a top manager and he’s shown that with us this season. We hope he’s here next season and for us the main objective is to get in that top four and then prepare for next season.”
I’ve played down any hints that Conte’s comments had been unsettling, adding: “Not really, not at all. We’re professionals and we focus on our game.
“You heard him yourself it’s obviously false news, he’s focusing on here at the club. As players we’re just focusing on our job going forward and that’s all we can do.”
Sessegnon also praised the confidence that Conte had placed in him. “It has not been easy since I’ve been at the club, but step by step he gives me confidence in every game to go and do what I can do,” he said. “For me it’s about believing in myself and getting in that positive run, feeling good and keep pushing.”
Tottenham are fifth in the Premier League, two points behind north London rivals Arsenal. They could drop further behind this weekend as they are faced with a tricky visit to Anfield, but Sessegnon was bullish about facing Liverpool.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game away at Anfield, but you’ve seen we can take points from the top teams as we’ve done it against Manchester City this season, we took two wins there. There’s no reason why we can’t go there and win the game.
“We’ll look at the game (against Liverpool in December) and see the positives and take those positives into the next game at Anfield. We know it’s a different stage of the season and we have to manage it. But again when we have the chances to score, we should take those chances.”
(Photo: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)