Antonio Conte hit out at the “incredible” decision to disallow a goal that would have put Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 up against Chelsea in yesterday’s London derby.
The Spurs head coach also said the onus was on the club’s hierarchy to close the “important gap” between the clubs, after suffering his first Premier League defeat since he took over last November, starting with the final week of the January transfer window.
Conte pointedly omitted Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele from his match-day squad and stated: “I don’t want to comment on single players. There is the club to make the best decision. There is a sporting director and chairman and they take the last decision.”
Following the 2-0 defeat, which damaged Spurs’ hopes of finishing in the top four, the Italian was left angered by the decision of referee Paul Tierney to disallow a first-half strike from Harry Kane for an apparent push on Thiago Silva.
“The referee disallowed a goal and I was very clear with him,” he said.
“I think it is best to tell the referee in a polite way. To see this type of goal disallowed is incredible. Maybe in Italy, 50-50, but in England was incredible.”
Conte was also unhappy with the 37th-minute yellow card awarded to Japhet Tanganga for a foul on Callum Hudson-Odoi.
“The yellow card for Tanganga also angered me a lot. It can seem a stupid thing, but no, because a yellow card from the start to the end can also force an early substitution.
“But the referee can make a good or bad decision, it’s normal, like me or a player, but it’s OK.”
He added: ”I don’t like to lose and defeat is always difficult for me, but I think to have nine games in a row without defeat was important.
“In this moment, the gap with other teams like Chelsea is really an important gap and the team and the squad, the game was . . . I am proud for the effort.
“We tried to do everything but sometimes it is not enough, especially against a team like this. Now there is a big difference between us and the top teams.”
Conte is pushing to sign Adama Traore from Wolverhampton Wanderers and AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie before the end of the month and said: “This is not the right moment to speak, the club know very well what I think.
“There is not one transfer market to close the gap. The last few years, this gap became very big and now it is not simple to find a solution in a short time.
“You have to sell or loan players and it is difficult and then you have to find the right players for you. You can only start this process but you need many years. It won’t be easy, I spoke with the club and am totally in this position of the club to work and improve the situation on the pitch.”
The result – and impressive overall performance as a smooth, cohesive team unit – was a relief for Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, who said he did not see what happened with Kane’s strike but was “surprised” it was disallowed.
“We came from some results we did not like. That it was a London derby helped us and it gave the feeling like a cup game,” he said.
“Very important for morale – we go into a mini break, it changes everything, the mood, the belief. We played the game we deserved.”
Telegraph Media Group Limited