Former Tottenham defender Matt Doherty hopes ‘unbelievable’ manager Antonio Conte will stay with Tottenham ‘as long as possible’ amid speculation over his future.
The Italian, whose contract is due to expire this summer, found himself in the spotlight after a rant over the weekend in which he accused his players of lack of professionalism and questioned the club’s culture over the past two decades.
Conte spoke after seeing his side squander a 3-1 Premier League lead over Southampton with a 3-3 draw, prompting suggestions his spell could end prematurely.
However, Republic of Ireland international Doherty, who left Tottenham for Atletico Madrid in January, said: “Look, I hope he stays a long time at Tottenham.
“He’s an incredible coach, an incredible coach. He won’t say anything in the press that he wouldn’t say to his players. He’s completely honest with his players, and has passion for the whole club.”
“For me, I hope Tottenham sticks around and sticks with him for as long as possible. He’s one of the best managers of all time.”
Doherty headed to Spain on deadline day when his contract with the north London club was mutually terminated after a proposed loan deal could not be processed because Tottenham already had eight players – the maximum allowed by FIFA – at other clubs.
He has only appeared once for Diego Simeone’s men as a substitute since then, a concern ahead of Ireland’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier against France on Monday, but he insists he is enjoying the experience.
“Things are going well for me in Spain,” said the 31-year-old full-back. “It’s a completely different experience, a different culture, a different preparation for games. I’m enjoying my time there even though I don’t play much.”
“The reason I left was… well, at first it was just going on loan for the rest of the season and then obviously we had problems with a lot of loans, so I really couldn’t turn down this kind of experience and a manager of his caliber.
“I always like to challenge myself and be uncomfortable sometimes and a similar case was there.
“I didn’t have much time to think about it, but the time I had, I couldn’t turn down this opportunity.
“I’m there until the end of the season and I’m just using it as a learning experience. I’m getting better by training with world-class players every day. I’m using the six months that I have there to try to get better, to try to understand the game better and improve my game in general.”
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