ottenham boss Antonio Conte has rubbished reports he has offered himself to Paris Saint-Germain, calling them “fake news” and “lies”.
It had been suggested that the Italian was interested in taking over from Mauricio Pochettino at the French champions this summer, raising the possibility of a job swap that would have seen the Argentine return to north London.
Conte’s contract runs until the end of next season but he has repeatedly said he will discuss his future with the club at the end of the campaign, with Spurs currently locked in a battle with rivals Arsenal for fourth place.
When asked about the PSG links on Friday, Conte said: “Obviously I think that it’s good that other clubs appreciate my work. This is one thing. But the truth is that I don’t like when people try to invest news, only to speak, only to create probnlems.
“This is not right, not fair for me, for the clubs involved and for my players.
“Also because we’re really focussed on these five games to get a fantastic result for us. I repeat, this type of situation makes me smile.
“But I think that also the people that want to tell something about this have to show respect for all the people involved in this situation, and not invent fake news and tell a lot of lies.”
Asked if he had spoken to his players about the reports, Conte added: “In this situation, who works in football – players or managers – know very well that at this point of the season, a lot of fake news starts to go out.
“We’re working very hard and my players know very well we’re very focused. We’re speaking a lot about this opportunity.
“We have to live this situation with passion, enthusiasm and joy. I repeat, we deserve to stay there and to fight for a place in the Champions League. A place in Champions League is not easy for no one.
“To stay there, we need to enjoy this situation. For this reason, I repeat our fans have to stay with us at every moment. Positive and negative moments.
“We deserve to fight until the end and have a big push from our fans.”
Conte’s Spurs have slipped two points behind Arsenal with five games to play after losing to Brighton and last weekend’s frustrating draw with Brentford.
Ahead of Leicester’s visit on Sunday, he issued a rallying cry to his players and supporters to keep pushing in the final five games.
“I want to underline that we’re fighting for a target that, at the start of the season, no one could imagine,” Conte said.
“Especially in November because when I arrived the situation wasn’t good – otherwise you wouldn’t change the coach. So to arrive with five games to go with the possibility to get this result is a great achievement for us.
“So for this reason, we have to face the situation with great enthusiasm because we have nothing to lose and only to earn.
“We are doing something special for the situation we faced this season. I spoke with my players and it’s the same with our fans, they have to continue to support us and push us until the end.
“We’re living this dream. We have to continue until the end to get a place in the Champions League. It’s right to underline that we are fighting for a target that wasn’t in our mind at the start of the season.
“For this reason I want to push everybody at the club to have great enthusiasm, great passion, our fans to stay with us and to back us from the start until the end.
“If we reach this target, all the people in Tottenham have to be happy to reach this target and everybody has to be involved to meet this target.”