Sky Sports have reported that Antonio Conte is firmly of the belief that he will not be sacked by Tottenham despite his massive rant and public criticism of his players in the wake of the draw at bottom club Southampton on Saturday.

Spurs threw away a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes to go, eventually drawing 3-3 at St Mary’s in what was a hugely disappointing result in their bid to finish in the top four and qualify for Champions League football again.

And following the contest, Conte let loose at his ‘selfish’ players who he feels cannot cope with playing under pressure.

While his comments have earned plaudits from some pundits and critics alike, the Italian has also been condemned for digging out his players publically.

That led to chairman Daniel Levy demanding a summit meeting with Conte, where the former Inter Milan chief was told to explain his comments further.

It’s since been reported that Conte’s comments, particularly surrounding the club’s ownership, were misunderstood. And that his anger was purely at the players and not the board.

As a result, it’s claimed Conte, who is back home in Italy for a few days during the international break, is safe for now.

And Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol revealed that Conte believes he is safe and stands by what he said.

Former boss Mauricio Pochettino is known to be waiting in the wings, if Conte is shown the door. Meanwhile, the likes of Thomas Tuchel, Luis Enrique, Roberto De Zerbi and now Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou are also being linked with the job.

Conte, who looks certain to leave his post at the end of his contract in the summer anyway, is the latest Spurs manager who has been unable to bring silverware to the club, something that will hurt him given his fierce winning mentality.

Conte protecting his ‘winning’ reputation

And sports performance coach Jeremy Lazarus, who has Premier League players, managers and top-level performers in other sports among his client list, believes Conte’s desire to protect his identity as a winner could have caused the extraordinary outburst.

“We have all got a sense of who we are and Conte will identify as a winner,” Lazarus said.

“If our sense of identity gets threatened we don’t all respond well to that. We will either put up barriers or do something to preserve our sense of self. He almost certainly identifies himself as a winner. And he needs to protect that then he will come out all guns blazing.

“It could be a build-up of various factors and there is always a straw that breaks the camel’s back. And maybe what he saw on Saturday, compared to what he was expecting, was enough.

“And he thought, ‘I’ve had enough, I can’t keep defending the players’. That seems a pretty plausible explanation.

“I don’t think there was calculation there. It felt like he thought in his opinion his players weren’t giving their side of the bargain. I am not saying that’s the case, I am saying he probably thinks that.

“Some people may have said he was acting. It was not an act, he is a passionate guy and a winner. If he was acting then he is in the wrong profession – it was an Oscar-winning performance!”

Tottenham are not back in action until April 3 when they head to Everton in the Premier League. It just remains to be seen who is charge by the time the Goodison Park trip comes around.

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