Antonio Conte insists Richarlison was not disrespecting Nottingham Forest by showboating

·3 min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Antonio Conte defended Tottenham Hotspur striker Richarlison after his late showboating in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

With the game in the bag thanks to two Harry Kane goals, the Brazilian juggled the ball before getting clattered by Brennan Johnson in the 85th minute.

Forest boss Steve Cooper said that would not be accepted at his club but Conte insisted his player was not being disrespectful.

“At that moment I was with the bench because I was making another substitution. I think he juggled with the ball,” Conte said.

“It is a game and you are under pressure. I repeat it is OK. I don’t think Richy wanted to show disrespect to Nottingham Forest.

“Nottingham Forest are a really good team with a great history in football and we have a great respect. Richy for sure thinks in the same way. Not disrespectful for anyone and I can tell you this.”

Cooper admitted he would be less tolerant, adding: “I wouldn’t want my players to do that, what Richarlison did. But if that’s accepted at Spurs then that’s nothing to do with me. But it wouldn’t be accepted here, that’s for sure.”

His show of skills came soon after he produced another bit of outrageous play when he teed up Kane’s second with a cross with the outside of his boot.

It killed the game for Spurs, who had taken a fifth-minute lead through Kane, with the England captain also missing a second-half penalty.

Dean Henderson became the first Premier League goalkeeper to stop him scoring since Liverpool’s Loris Karius in February 2018 – a run of 22 successful attempts.

Kane did become the joint third highest Premier League scorer of all-time with Andy Cole on 187.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

“I think we deserved to win. It was a difficult game,” Conte said.

“It was the first time (playing them) and I was really surprised to listen to a lot of noise around the stadium and the pitch, and the Nottingham Forest fans pushed the team a lot.

“The second half we improved a lot and we had the chances to score the second goal. We could have scored the third goal with the penalty, but honestly I don’t think he missed it.

“I think it was a really good save. The keeper was incredible, the save he made. But in the end, three points, I repeat not easy to come here and get three points against Nottingham Forest.”

Despite not liking Richarlison’s actions, Cooper was pleased with what he saw from his team as they again showed they are not in the Premier League to make the numbers.

Forest threatened Spurs throughout the game but lacked the killer instinct, with Morgan Gibbs-White and Neco Williams missing the best of the chances.

“The overriding feeling will be one of disappointment, because we didn’t get anything from the game – and, in the end, results are the most important thing,” Cooper said.

“The performance was good, we really took the game to Spurs and stuck to the plan that we wanted to bring to the game, we got them on the back foot, which allowed us to have loads of the ball, get high up the pitch and really get into good areas to threaten the goal.

I won’t be narrow-minded enough not to see that there were loads of good things from our game

Steve Cooper

“But that’s what we didn’t do. For all of the good play we had, all of the good numbers up the pitch and territory, we didn’t then turn it into enough attempts on goal.

“I know that’s the hardest thing in the game to do. But we didn’t.

“But I won’t be narrow-minded enough not to see that there were loads of good things from our game. We just need to keep going with our ideas.”