Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has issued a warning to Son Heung-min as he insists the out-of-form striker is no longer untouchable… just six months after the Italian claimed he would should be ‘crazy’ to drop South Korean star from squad
- Son Heung-min has started in all seven Spurs appearances so far this season
- His form is a far cry from last season, when he won the Premier League Golden Boot
- In March, Conte said he would have to be ‘crazy’ to drop Son from his team
- But ahead of Sporting clash, Conte said he was no longer untouchable
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte issued a warning to out-of-form striker Son Heung-min to let him sweat it out for him against Sporting on Tuesday night.
Son has started in all seven of Spurs’ appearances 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 after a prolific season that heralded 28 goals for club and country in all competitions.
Tottenham star Son Heung-min sweats on his seat before Sporting Lisbon game
This is after Spurs boss Antonio Conte (left) admitted the South Korean was no longer untouchable
In March, Conte said he would have to be ‘crazy’ to exclude Son from his squad given his importance – but the emergence of Dejan Kulusevski and the £60million capture of Richarlison from Everton means the Tottenham manager no longer depends solely on the Korean. 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 squad, Conte made it clear his star striker was no longer untouchable.
Conte said: “I think when you try to build something big, 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 balanced 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 in particular it’s very difficult at the moment to drop any of those 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 not start a game, come in and play only 20 or 30 minutes and then play the next games.
“Of course I’m here to try to change the old habit. The old habit was that the players were used to playing every game. What happened in this type of situation is that you don’t have a great chance of winning.
“You try to make the players happy, but the big clubs have a big team, a deep team. At the moment we don’t have a big team but we have just started trying to go down that path.
“For that reason, what happens with any of those four players will be normal and you have to know that it’s good for a coach like me to have those options.”
Dejan Kulusevski (left) and Richarlison (centre) mean Spurs are no longer dependent on Son’s partnership with Harry Kane (background, right)
Conte, however, says his forward selection dilemma is not giving him sleepless nights, adding: “For sure I think every manager likes this kind of problem.”
“Of course I have the possibility of choosing three important players and I know that I have another player on the bench who is ready to come and help us, like in the last game against Marseille.
“It was 0-0, I decided to put Kulusevski on the pitch and also keep the three forwards to become more attacking.
“I think this is an important solution for me.”
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte issues warning to Son Heung-min and insists he is no longer untouchable