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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte refuses to make promises about his commitment to Spurs

The good news for Tottenham is that they are in a much better position than the last time they played against Arsenal at the end of September.

The less good news is the man responsible for the rebound in form since that desperate 3-1 defeat, Antonio Conte, has now begun to whine about the same thorny subject so obsessed with many of those managers who have previously passed him.

Tottenham Hotspur and money. We’ve been here before and it doesn’t always end well. Given the positive impression Conte has made on Spurs staff and supporters, this time round chairman Daniel Levy hopes to find a quick solution.

Antonio Conte has refused to commit to Tottenham's project after a rocky start to Spurs' life

Antonio Conte has refused to commit to Tottenham’s project after a rocky start to Spurs’ life

Conte wants Spurs owner Daniel Levy to spend money in January, but little has been done

Conte wants Spurs owner Daniel Levy to spend money in January, but little has been done

Conte, 52, is a fine football manager but also a hardened politician and the matches have started in recent days.

Frustrated with what he fears is a lack of serious activity from Levy and football director Fabio Paratici in the current transfer window, Conte is now surrounded by rumors of his own future. He may run away, it has been said.

He could have killed those stories with one sentence as he spoke yesterday. But instead, Conte dropped the subject and, as he well knows, the story now continues.

On the one hand, he emphasized that he was having a good time at Tottenham on Friday. He would “stay strong until the end of the season,” he added.

Italian boss Conte revealed he will 'stay strong until the end of the season' at Spurs

Italian boss Conte revealed he will ‘stay strong until the end of the season’ at Spurs

Likewise, when asked directly if he would even be there at the end of the month, he chose to cover up.

“Honestly, I like to live in the present and don’t think much about the future,” he said. “Now it’s important to live in the present, improve the situation and get the best out of my players.

The present is now, the future is later. Later might be too late for us. I signed a contract before the end of the season and then another year. But I’m having a good time and have a good relationship with the chairman and the general manager.’

Tottenham fans have seen this scene before. Mauricio Pochettino once played in it. Dan Jose Mourinho. They know how it works and that will be the concern. The way it works is that Levy – who in a Covid world is still finding ways to pay for the stadium Conte loves so much – isn’t being bullied. He tends not to bend.

Levy is a difficult task master, as Jose Mourinho (left) and Mauricio Pochettino (right) discovered

Levy is a difficult task master, as Jose Mourinho (left) and Mauricio Pochettino (right) discovered

Conte, meanwhile, is a man who wins things and the Spurs haven’t won anything in 14 years. The potential for improvement under the former Chelsea boss is clear.

But Conte is also aggressive and stubborn and it would be a huge shame if the strides his new team has already made under him are eventually tainted by what is essentially the very essence of his own personality.

Tottenham need new and better players. Conte is right about that. Likewise, he must have known when he took the job that transfer money would be tight. He must have had those conversations with Levy.

When presented to him on Friday, he said: ‘At this point I don’t think I can confirm this. Also because the club has not spent any money with me. I’ve only been here two months. I think we have to go and do the right things.’

Conte wants to see new signings after an indifferent start to life at White Hart Lane

Conte wants to see new signings after an indifferent start to life at White Hart Lane

When asked if Levy’s message had changed between November and now, he said: “I didn’t sign for Tottenham because the chairman told me quite frankly about the money the club will be spending.

“I accepted because I felt that Tottenham could be a fantastic situation for me to work, to bring my idea of ​​football and to try to create something important for this club. They definitely said to me, “We want to improve”.

“I’m not losing my ambition and that should be very clear. I like to fight for something important. So now we have to try to improve and take the team to an important level. It will be very difficult, because the chasm is not a small chasm.”

The unfortunate truth for any Tottenham manager is that it will be many years before the club will spend money the way Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United do. Indeed it should never happen.

Conte has breathed some life into a Tottenham squad that shrunk under Nuno Espirito Santo

Conte has breathed some life into a Tottenham squad that shrunk under Nuno Espirito Santo

At least Conte has given Tottenham some relevance again after Mourinho’s toxic regression and Nuno Espirito Santo’s strange and short tenure at the start of this season.

If the game continues on Sunday, the home side will start as small favorites for their supporters against an Arsenal team that will be missing many players and, despite the heart and tenacity shown in Liverpool’s Carabao Cup draw on Thursday, will still be soft. underbelly shown too often on the big occasion.

Arsenal are making progress under Mikel Arteta but, as Conte noted yesterday, the Spaniard has been pursuing his own managerial career at the club for over two years now.

The Spurs face North London rivals Arsenal on Sunday, who won the derby 3-1 in September

The Spurs face North London rivals Arsenal on Sunday, who won the derby 3-1 in September

Tottenham’s improvement under Conte has arrived in bursts. More cautious steps have been taken at Arsenal, but that does not mean that Arteta does not know how impatience feels.

“If you want to change the team, you want to change the way of playing, change a culture, and that has to happen in certain periods,” said Arteta. ‘Every project, every phase has a deadline. If you exceed that deadline, the project dies.

“To say it doesn’t matter whether we do something in a year or in five years would destroy the faith of anyone following that project.

Mikel Arteta has been given the time and resources to build his Arsenal project from the ground up

Mikel Arteta has been given the time and resources to build his Arsenal project from the ground up

“You have to be very much in line with everyone who makes the decisions. The timetable must be respected before we go to places where no one is comfortable with.’

It was an eloquent and no doubt completely unintended way to shed light on what may still be a developmental situation in the home of tomorrow’s adversaries.

If Conte and Levy are aligned, the manager won’t say so. In terms of an awkward spot, the Spurs manager seems happy that people believe he is already approaching one.

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