Conte cuddles Son to apologise for subbing fuming Tottenham star off

Heung-min Son received an apology from manager Antonio Conte after being brought off early in the north London derby against Arsenal, with the Tottenham Hotspur star gunning for the golden boot

Son was unhappy at being brought off

Antonio Conte was forced to apologise to Heung-Min Son after subbing Tottenham Hotspur star off in the north London derby.

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Son had scored Spurs’ third goal of the game in the emphatic 3-0 win, boosting their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League by going within one point of bitter rivals Arsenal, who were reduced to 10 men in the first half thanks to Rob Holding ‘s “stupid” red card. But despite the game being wrapped up by minute 72, the South Korean was still disappointed to be withdrawn in place of Steven Bergwijn.

That was because Son only needed one more strike to go level with Premier League top goalscorer Mohamed Salah in the race for the golden boot, having netted 22 this season for Liverpool. Son was visibly upset while trudging off the pitch, prompting an apologetic Conte to cuddle him post-match during the celebrations.

The Tottenham manager explained his decision by saying: “I know Son Heung-min wanted to continue to play but I had to think not only about this game but to have fresh players. They spent a lot of energy. I made the decision to give them a bit of rest. He promised me on Sunday he will go to try to score.”

Thankfully for Conte, Son was more than understanding of his boss’ call after the final whistle, as the forward told Sky Sports : “Obviously I want to play always, what can I say? The manager’s decision, I have to accept it. He said we have an important game Sunday, that’s why. It’s not a big deal.

“I’m not angry, just disappointed because I came off. I move on, and Sunday’s another game. I just wanted to keep playing, I just wanted to continue to play. We have an important game on Sunday and I have to be ready, to recover and be fresh again to help the team.”

The 29-year-old was instrumental in Arsenal’s downfall, having been brought down by Holding in the 33rd minute. “Well I couldn’t see because I was down. I was running into the space and he just blocked the run,” Son replied when asked about the incident.

Conte hugged Son after full-time


Sky Sports)

Have your say! Should Conte have subbed Son off? Give us your verdict in the comments section.

“The ball is coming or not it was a dangerous challenge. We have VAR, if there was no yellow card then VAR would check it, but look, for me it was a clear foul and clear yellow card.”

Meanwhile for Spurs, they host Burnley on Sunday in a huge clash at both ends of the table. After the final whistle, that was all striker Harry Kane, who grabbed two goals, was focussed on. “We still have two games to go and we have put the pressure on them,” Kane added.

“We have to focus on ourselves. We play early on Sunday so we need to get a result and see what happens. We can only control our games. We did our job tonight. We won’t get ahead of ourselves. Tonight was special but our ultimate goal is to get fourth place and we still have work to do.”

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