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Brazilian attacker Richarlison has launched a stunning attack on Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, accusing his boss of sending mixed messages in what has been a “sh*t” season for him.
The £60m summer signing hasn’t enjoyed the best of maiden campaigns in North London with his early time with Spurs marred by injuries and fitness issues, though it seems as though Richarlison thinks Conte is responsible for some of his woes.
Richarlison was named on the substitutes bench against AC Milan in the Champions League in midweek – a familiar position for the 25-year-old – though he was introduced to the game with 20 minutes left on the clock.
However, the ex-Everton star couldn’t impact proceedings and Spurs were eventually dumped out by the Italians after a dour 0-0 draw.
Richarlison airs his frustrations
In an explosive interview in the post-match scrum, Richarlison didn’t hold back when discussing Antonio Conte and the Italian coach’s team selection policy.
“I didn’t understand…I was playing well, we won against Chelsea and West Ham and suddenly I was on the bench,” he said.
“I played five minutes against Wolves, asked the reason and no one told me why. Yesterday they asked me to take a fitness test in the gym and told me I was going to start today if I passed it.
“And today 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 tomorrow but I’m not silly, I’m a professional that works hard every day and I want to play.
“There hasn’t been enough minutes given to me, this season – and forgive my language – has been s***. I don’t have enough minutes, was injured for a bit, but when I’m on the pitch I give my life.
“I played well in two games, especially against Chelsea, so I think I should have played tonight, but I can’t go on crying about it now.”
Richarlison frustrated in North London
Tottenham paid a club record £60m to sign Richarlison from Everton last year, however, the South American forward has struggled to nail down a regular starting berth with his new employers and Antonio Conte seems to favour Dejan Kulusevski, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane as his first-choice front three.
Injuries haven’t helped, but Richarlison has managed to clock up just 661 minutes of Premier League football since August and in his seven starts in the division, the 25-year-old failed to score even once.
Richarlison did manage to net two crucial goals for Tottenham in a Champions League group stage win over Marseille in September, though that was a high point in an otherwise poor start to his career in the capital.
However, the disgruntled Brazilian says he still has time to deliver on supporters’ expectations, saying:
“We have around 15 games to play now and the focus is that,” he said. “I’ll try to score as many goals as I can because the club has paid a lot of money for me and I haven’t given enough back on the pitch yet.
“Fair to say my injuries didn’t help and I haven’t had enough minutes. But now I’ll go home, rest, train tomorrow and see if he’ll put me in the first XI next game.”