(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte told Mikel Arteta to stop complaining and focus on his own team after the Arsenal boss criticised the referee following Thursday’s 3-0 defeat that cut his side’s advantage in the top-four race to just one point.
Arteta was left fuming after referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot in the 22nd minute – which Harry Kane converted – and then showed a second yellow to Rob Holding 11 minutes later for a foul on Son Heung-min.
“If I say what I think I am suspended for six months,” said Arteta. “I don’t know how to lie so I prefer not to say what I think… it’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”
Conte, whose team eased to victory on the back of a Kane double and a strike from Son, was unhappy with Arteta’s assessment of the referee.
“Mikel Arteta is a really good coach. He’s just started to do this job and I think that I hear him complain a lot. I think that he needs to be focused more on his team and not to complain,” he said.
“The red card for me it was clear. Don’t forget against Liverpool I said nothing what happened with Fabinho.”
The Italian hinted that it was unfair that Arsenal were able to get the original fixture rearranged on the grounds of COVID-19 even though the squad had only positive case.
“Arsenal were good to postpone a game in an incredible way with COVID and they only had one player with COVID. I didn’t forget this. If he wants to complain, we have a lot of possibilities to complain,” said Conte.
Fourth-placed Arsenal, who lead Spurs by a point with two games remaining, travel to Newcastle United on Monday while Conte’s side host Burnley a day earlier.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)