"It wasn't easy", admits Antonio Conte, but it was "200% a penalty"

Spurs boss Antonio Conte admitted “it wasn’t easy” to see off a well-organised Burnley and maintain their Champions League hopes.

By Chris Boden
Monday, 16th May 2022, 2:00 pm

But he felt the controversial decision to hand Harry Kane the opportunity to win the game from the spot was “200% a penalty”, after Davinson Sanchez’s flick hit Ashley Barnes’ arm.

Pundits have universally criticised Kevin Friend’s decision to point to the spot, after VAR spotted the offence, amid no clamour from Spurs players, but Conte said: “I think 200% a penalty, not 100%.

"It was so clear.

Tottenham Hotspur's Italian head coach Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on May 15, 2022. - - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

"It was very difficult to understand the complaints, if your arm is in this way and you take the ball, I think it is very clear.”

The Italian was pleased with the way his side dug in, however: “Don’t forget we played two days ago and in a tough game against Arsenal, and before we played in Anfield against Liverpool and you know very well that in this type of game we spent a lot of energy, spending also a lot mental energy.

"It was very important to take the three points, but we created the chances to score more goals.

"Sometimes was the keeper good, sometimes I think we could be more clinical, but at the end of the season, to play against Burnley and a team that is fighting to avoid relegation is not simple.

"They come here to play a defensive game, a well-organised defensive game and don’t concede space.

"It wasn’t easy, only after to get three points you relax.

"We didn’t concede a goal, another clean sheet and the team was strong and in this moment it is not easy to play against us.”

There was a virus in the camp ahead of the game, with Dejan Kulusevski only fit enough to make the bench, and Conte explained: “It wasn’t easy because yesterday morning the doctor sent me a message that a few players felt not well and with a stomach problem, vomiting and also fever.

"For this reason, Kulusevski, Gollini, also Hugo (Lloris), Winksy, we face the game in the right way and I am so happy because I have seen a team that has improved in many aspects now, this team is ready to fight in every game.

"It is not simple, not easy to play against us, to face Burnley today wasn’t easy, they test our nerves because for us it was vital to get three points and to stay until the end for this big achievement.

"I am very happy because I saw a team that improved a lot step by step and now deserve a lot like Arsenal to go for a place in the Champions League, but we will see what happens at the end of the season.

"Now another game against Norwich, it won’t be easy but it was positive for the team to fight for something important.”

Arsenal face Newcastle on Monday night, and Conte added: “I think first of all we had to do our task and to win and get three points and put some pressure on Arsenal.

"We know very well it is not easy to play against Newcastle, and especially when arrive with the new manager and in a good spell and not an easy game, but the game for us in Norwich, the last game against Everton for Arsenal.

"For sure I will watch the game because I love football and I want to watch and I want also to suffer (laughs) but I think it is a big achievement for the last game to have the opportunity to take a place into Champions League, because I don’t forget our path since November and we will see what happens.

"I think Arsenal did a really good job this season.”