Antonio Conte says Jurgen Klopp was looking for an ‘excuse or an alibi’ when he criticised Tottenham’s style of play following the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Klopp said that he could never coach the tactics that Conte adopted at Anfield, even though Spurs had the better chances and could have won the match.
Conte hit back, saying: ‘Jurgen is an intelligent person, very clever.
Antonio Conte (L) says Jurgen Klopp (R) was looking for an ‘an alibi’ following Anfield draw
‘He was a bit frustrated after the game but at the same time for every coach it is important to learn to be focused on your team not the opponent.
‘It means you want to find an excuse or an alibi because your job was wrong.’
Reds boss Klopp did admit he was wrong to hit out at Conte and his Spurs side’s approach, insisting he ‘couldn’t respect Antonio more, what he is doing and how he organises teams.’
Conte, who was speaking ahead of Spurs’ showdown with north London enemies Arsenal on Thursday night, went on to defend Klopp as he admitted he also gets frustrated after disappointing results.
‘Honestly, for the coach it’s not simple or easy after the game. You have to try to keep a cool head. It’s not easy or simple sometimes,’ he said.
‘If you remember this season it always happened to me, when I was disappointed after a bad result.
‘When we lost against Burnley, if you remember I gave to myself the fault about the defeat. Sometimes we’re a bit frustrated, especially when you arrive at the end of the season and you understand a bad game and result can change the target for you.
‘I repeat, I have great respect for Jurgen and I know he respects me a lot.
‘This is a good chance for me and all the coaches to learn that during the game you never speak about your opponents.
‘It’s important to be focused on your team, the moments you can do better and your own problems.’
Conte went on to defend Klopp, who admitted his error, and reiterated his ‘respect’ for rival
‘I don’t like this kind of football. I think they’re world-class, and I think they should do more for the game,’ Klopp said after his side dropped two points in the title race last Saturday.
‘They play a world-class team, they sit back. They drew against us now, they won against [Manchester] City. So the game plan works for these games but they’re still fifth, so that’s how it is.’
Following time to reflect, the German said on Monday: ‘As managers, and I had this experience recently, after a game we are obviously… we are massively influenced by the game, the situation and stuff like this.
‘Would I say it again? No. I said after the game, “They play like they play and are still only fifth”. It felt good in that moment but anyway [it was] wrong.
‘But it was just my feeling in that moment. I could not respect Antonio more, what he is doing and how he organises teams.’