Richarlison: 'I did not lead a mutiny against Antonio Conte'
Tottenham forward Richarlison has shut down rumours over his alleged part in Antonio Conte’s departure and insisted he was not the “mutiny leader” behind the exit of his former manager.
Conte left Spurs on Sunday by mutual consent a week on from an extraordinary rant in which he criticised his own “selfish players” following a 3-3 draw at Southampton.
Richarlison, who was injured during the dramatic St Mary’s clash, was later accused by a journalist from Argentinian broadcaster TyC Sports of giving an ultimatum to Tottenham alongside club team-mate Cristian Romero over Conte’s future.
But the Brazil international rejected those allegations on Thursday. “Questioning and criticising me as a player for my performance is part of football and I got it,” Richarlison said on Twitter. “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!
“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!”
Richarlison is set to miss Tottenham’s first match since the departure of Conte, what would have been his return to Everton on Monday, with a minor muscle injury.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur’s officially-recognised Supporters’ Trust has launched a blistering attack on Levy, accusing the club of a “lack of leadership” and suffering “one crisis after another”.
Levy was absent from Thursday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting as he sought to solve fundamental problems at his club following the departure of Conte and the sanctioning of sporting director Fabio Paratici.
The Spurs chairman, who also owns a substantial part of the club through controlling shareholder Enic, is searching for a manager for both the men’s and women’s teams as well as deciding whether he replaces Paratici. The Italian is subject to a 30-month ban from football which Fifa extended worldwide this week at the request of the Italian football association (FIGC).
The question for Levy now is whether he replaces Paratici ahead of appointing a new manager for the men’s team. Julian Nagelsmann, recently sacked by Bayern Munich; former manager Mauricio Pochettino; and Celtic manager Ange Postecoglu are all under consideration. However, the club may first have to appoint a sporting director if Paratici’s appeal fails.
Remarkably the club are fourth in the Premier League, albeit having played two games more than fifth-placed Newcastle United, whom they lead by two points.
The Tottenham Hotspur supporters’ trust board member Martin Buhagiar said: "It is one drama after another, one mess and one crisis after another. It is really worrying because the lack of leadership there is becoming a real concern for Spurs fans now.
"We've known for months that Conte is leaving and no one at any point thought he would stay beyond the summer so that started it, because you've got Conte leaving but there doesn't appear to be a Plan B. We've gone back to interim managers again.”
Paratici featured in a video released by the club this week in which he explained the reasons behind Conte's departure, although less than 24 hours later Fifa announced the extension of his ban for alleged malpractice at former club Juventus. On Wednesday night Spurs issued a plaintive statement saying that the announcement had caught them by surprise
Buhagiar added: "For me it shows really poor forward planning and that is the issue at Spurs. We have no first-team coach, no women's coach, our director of football has been suspended and just before his suspension is endorsed worldwide by Fifa, they get him to send out a video talking about Conte.
"It is just about leadership. You need someone to stand up and say enough of this. It is identifying what that strategy is and standing up and offering leadership and being clear on the vision of the club."
Given fan sentiment, Spurs may also have to rethink a proposed substantial increase in season ticket prices, at a club which is already one of the most expensive in the Premier League.