London ball

Antonio Conte insists Richarlison was not disrespectful at Nottingham Forest

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

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

Forest boss Steve Cooper said it would not be accepted at his club, but Conte insisted his player was not being disrespected.

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

“It’s a game and you’re under pressure. I repeat it’s OK. I don’t think Richy meant any disrespect to Nottingham Forest.

“Nottingham Forest are a very good team with a great history in football and we have great respect. Richy certainly thinks the same way. I don’t disrespect anyone and I can tell you that.

Steve Cooper was unimpressed with Richarlison’s behavior (PA)

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

His display of skill came shortly after he produced another outrageous play when he launched 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 a goal since Liverpool’s Loris Karius in February 2018 – a successful streak of 22 attempts.

Kane became the third all-time Premier League goalscorer with Andy Cole on 187.

(PA graphics)
(PA graphics)

“I think we deserved to win. It was a tough match,” Conte said.

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

“In the second half we improved a lot and we had the chance 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 very good save. The keeper was amazing, the save he made. But in the end, three points, I repeat not easy to come here and get three points against Nottingham Forest .

Although he didn’t like Richarlison’s actions, Cooper was pleased with what he saw from his side as they again showed they weren’t in the Premier League to make numbers.

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

“The overriding feeling will be one of disappointment because we got nothing out of the game – and, at the end of the day, the results are the most important thing,” Cooper said.

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

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

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

“But I won’t be narrow-minded enough not to see that there were a lot of good things in our game. We just have to continue with our ideas.