Tottenham boss Antonio Conte fires warning to Son Heung-min and insists out-of-form forward is no longer untouchable… just six months after Italian said he would have to be ‘crazy’ to drop South Korean star from team
- Son Heung-min has started in all seven of Spurs’ matches so far this season
- His form is a far cry from last season, when he won Premier League Golden Boot
- In March, Conte said he would have to be ‘crazy’ to drop Son from his team
- But ahead of the Sporting clash, Conte said he was no longer untouchable
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has fired a warning to out-of-form forward Son Heung-min to leave the forward sweating on his place against Sporting on Tuesday night.
Son has started in all seven of Spurs’ matches so far this season, but is yet to find the back of the net despite the club’s unbeaten start to the campaign.
His form is a far cry from last season, when Son won the Premier League Golden Boot following a prolific season that heralded 28 goals for club and country in all competitions.
Out-of-form Tottenham star Son Heung-min is sweating on a place to face Sporting Lisbon
It is after Spurs boss Antonio Conte (L) admitted the South Korean is no longer untouchable
In March, Conte said he would have to be ‘crazy’ to drop Son from his team given his importance – but the emergence of Dejan Kulusevski and the £60million capture of Richarlison from Everton means the Tottenham manager is no longer solely reliant on the Korean’s partnership with Harry Kane.
And speaking on Monday ahead of Tuesday night’s clash against Sporting, when asked specifically about Son’s place in his team Conte made clear his star forward is no longer untouchable.
Conte said: ‘I think when you try to build something important, when you try to build something with ambition and try to be competitive and fight to win, you have to change old habits, otherwise it means you want to stay in balance and it means you don’t want to have ambition.
‘For this reason all the players have to accept the rotation especially up front, we have four players. For me especially it’s very difficult right now to drop one of these four players, but I have to make the best decision for the team, also for the players.
Son’s form is a far cry from last season, when he won the Premier League Golden Boot
‘Sometimes it’s better to rest and don’t start a game, to come in and play only 20 or 30 minutes and then play the following games.
‘For sure I’m here to try to change the old habit. The old habit was that the players were used to playing in every game. What happened in this type of situation is that you don’t have great possibilities to win.
‘You try to make the players happy, but big clubs have a big squad, a deep squad. In this moment we don’t have a big squad but we have just started to try to follow this path.
‘For this reason what happens with one of these four players will be normal and you have to know it’s good for a coach like me to have these options.’
Dejan Kulusevski (L) and Richarlison (C) mean Spurs are no longer reliant on Son’s partnership with Harry Kane (R)
Conte, though, says his forward selection dilemma isn’t causing him sleepless nights, adding: ‘For sure I think every manager likes this kind of problem.
‘For sure I have the possibility to pick three important players and know that I have another player on the bench who is ready to come on and help us, like in the last game against Marseille.
‘It was 0-0, I decided to put Kulusevski into the pitch and to keep also the three strikers to become more offensive.
‘I think this is an important solution for me.’