Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojberg has, in an understated way, responded to Antonio Conte’s now-eternal post-Southampton rant about the players.
“Tottenham’s story is this – 20 years there is this owner and they never won something. Why?” Conte said.
“If they want to continue in this way, they can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change. Believe me.”
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“I think we’ve all seen it [Conte’s comments],” said Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
“He gave a very honest and very open press conference. It is because he is not satisfied. You don’t do that if you’ve reached the quarter-final of the Champions League and if you’re in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
“I understand that if you want to be successful as a team, you need 11 men who are committed to a project and a culture.
“But I think he has to elaborate on how he feels before you as a player can start measuring and weighing.”
“You do what you can to please him. What I do know about myself is that I am an honest player. I am a player who always gives 100% of myself for the team.
“If that’s how he sees it, then you have to be a little more precise in order for you as a player to take it to heart.”
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The way he repeated his point about elaborating is notable. Pierre-Emile Hojberg is indicating he sees through the performative element of his manager’s comments. Conte’s rant was remarkable but even he couldn’t argue that it was going to make the team play any better.
The Danish international is right. If Conte sees a problem he ought to, and is in fact paid to highlight it, not cast vague aspersions.
Sadly for Hojberg, Conte likely won’t be around long enough to explain the inner workings of his mind to him.