Son Heung-min blames himself for Antonio Conte’s departure from Spurs

Son Heung-min says he feels “responsible” for Antonio Conte’s exit from Tottenham and admits he should have played better during his reign.

The 30-year-old forward has failed to replicate his excellent form from last season and beyond.

After finishing as joint-top scorer in the previous Premier League campaign, he helped Spurs finish fourth during Conte’s debut season in charge, building on that almost-telepathic relationship with Harry Kane.

But the South Korean international has netted just six times in the league this season, a record he knows isn’t good enough. In fact, Son thinks his poor form played a part in Antonio Conte’s departure.

Speaking after South Korea’s 2-1 friendly loss to Uruguay on Tuesday, he said: “As a player, I am really sorry. He’s a world-class coach, and we had a great journey together.

“I should have played better. I feel responsible for his departure, because I haven’t helped the club all that much.

“I am grateful for what he’s done. He’s such a great coach and has so much experience. I will be rooting for him.”

Conte has often expressed his admiration for Son. Last year, as part of a club documentary on his first 202 days as Spurs manager, he labelled the forward “a dream for any manager”.

The Italian said: “For every manager, if you want to win, you need players of great talent.

“Sonny impressed me for the commitment, for the attitude, for the behaviour – he is a really good guy. But I think many people don’t know the man, the person that you find in Sonny. He always has a smile on his face.

“For sure he is a positive person. He is an important player for Tottenham. Every manager dreams of having this type of talent in your hands.”

Conte, who was relieved of his duties on Sunday after just 17 months in charge, broke his silence on Monday evening following his departure.

“Football is passion. I would like to deeply thank everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion and my intense way of living football as a coach,” he wrote on Instagram.

“A special thought to the Fans who always showed me support and appreciation, it’s been unforgettable to hear them singing my name. Our journey together has ended, I wish you all the best for the future.”

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