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Brazilian attacker Richarlison has responded angrily to reports claiming that he gave Tottenham an ultimatum demanding the sacking of Antonio Conte shortly before the Italian head coach was axed last week.
Conte was removed from his role on Monday evening following a 17-month stint in North London after his dramatic rant against the club and its “selfish” players following Spurs’ 3-3 draw with Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium just before the international break.
However, shortly after Conte was dismissed, a journalist working with Argentinean outlet, TyC, name dropped Richarlison and Tottenham defender Cristian Romero as leaders in a plot to oust Conte. The reporter suggested that Richarlison and Romero issued an ultimatum to the club’s board calling for a change in the dugout.
Richarlison took to Twitter this week to vehemently deny that story, however.
Richarlison responds to controversial story
On Thursday night, Richarlison hit back at TyC’s reports saying:
“Questioning and criticizing me as a player for my performance is part of football and I got it. However, telling lies about me, I don’t accept! I’ve always had a lot of respect for Conte and for all my coaches.
“He helped me a lot in my coming to the Spurs and, whenever we had a problem (even if it was public) we solved it based on conversation and professionalism — and this he can confirm.
“I wasn’t a mutiny leader against him, it was quite the opposite. I’m sorry I didn’t deliver as much as he expected of me and I didn’t do enough for him to stay. When he left, I sent him a message thanking him for everything and wishing him the best cause that’s what he deserves!”
He added: “On the other hand, the journalist responsible for this awful lie did not even do the least which would be talking to my PR or listening to me. Bad professional and bad character! And shame on you, Tyc Sports!”
Richarlson’s Tottenham struggles
Despite Richarlison’s claims to the contrary, the South American star didn’t seem to be on the best terms with Conte and the 25-year-old struggled to earn starts under the former Tottenham boss.
Spurs parted with a sizable £50m fee to wrangle Richarlison away from Everton last summer, however, there were whispers that the club’s recruitment team rather than Conte himself pushed the deal over the line.
Those rumours appeared to have been backed up by Conte’s reluctance to pick Richarlison in the Premier League and the attacker started has just nine times in England’s top tier since his switch from the Toffees.
The forward has yet to score a single Premier League goal for his new employers, though his lack of game time has contributed to his dry spell. Recently, Richarlison even described his debut campaign for Spurs as “sh*t” while lamenting his lack of minutes on the pitch.
Speaking after Tottenham’s elimination from the Champions League at the hands of AC Milan, Richarlison said:
“I didn’t understand. I was playing well, we won against Chelsea and West Ham and suddenly I was on the bench. I played five minutes against Wolves, asked the reason and no-one told me why.
“Tuesday, they asked me to take a fitness test in the gym and told me I was going to start Wednesday if I passed it. And I was on the bench.
“There are things I can’t understand. There was no explanation again, let’s see what he [Conte] will tell us Thursday but I’m not silly, I’m a professional that works hard every day and I want to play.