Antonio Conte hits back at Pep Guardiola Spurs counterattack claims

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By Martin Graham | 23rd Feb 2022

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has hit back at Pep Guardiola claims that his team beat Manchester City at the Etihad with goals from three counter attacks.

Spurs and City played out a pulsating five-goal thriller in the Premier League on Saturday with the North Londoners coming out top following a dying minute goal from City transfer target Harry Kane.

Manchester City manager Guardiola admitted his frustration at Conte’s game plan, claiming that the Italian set up his team to defend deep and breakaway on the counter.

The loss to Spurs means that City are only six points ahead of second-place Liverpool, who have a game in hand and an opportunity to close the gap to three points following their double gameweek in the coming Premier League matchweek.

Guardiola said to journalists in his post-match comments: “After going behind, they defended so deep and so compact – it was incredible.

“They don’t lose the ball with Harry Kane and can run as well with Son and Kulusevski.

“I think we played well. We created a lot of chances. I can’t say anything wrong about the team because we were there all the time. But it was difficult.

“They played the way I expected them to play. They were good in the build-up and created a lot of space to run on the counter-attack, but in general we coped well and played a good game.

“Everyone knows what Kane gives. For the first goal we defended the pass inside badly, but after 10 to 15 minutes we created a lot of chances. Lloris was brilliant. We have to score more.”

Conte shares video on Instagram too rebuff Guardiola comments

Conte shared a clip of all three goals on his Instagram page and captioned it, “Counter-attacks?!? Maybe not…” accompanied by three laughter emojis.

Spurs went ahead just four minutes into the game with the move started by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

The ball was played out from the back and was worked expertly to Harry Kane who played an impeccable pass to Heung-Min Son, who then squared it for new boy Dejan Kulusevski to score past Ederson in the Manchester City net.

City and Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan pulled a goal back 30 minutes into the game. Conte’s side, however, continued to press on, matching and absorbing Man City’s pressures until talisman Kane restored the lead after another passage of play which started from the Spurs box.

Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez scored from the penalty spot later in the match and looked to have secured a point for the Premier League leaders but Kane will not be silenced.

The City transfer target, who was denied a hat-trick after his second goal was ruled out for offside, rose highest to power home a header from the scorer of the first goal, Kulusevski’s cross.

Conte’s side now sit comfortably in eighth place with three games in hand and that could see them rise to fourth place if they secure the maximum points from those games.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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