Antonio Conte and Steve Cooper give verdict on Richarlison juggling the ball in Tottenham’s win vs Forest
Tottenham Hotspur secured an impressive 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest on Sunday (August 28), but it was Richarlison with his juggling skills that seemed to have grabbed a fair bit of headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Harry Kane scored both goals, with the second being assisted by Richarlison in the 81st minute. Spurs were comfortably up by a 2-0 margin when in the 85th minute, the Brazilian international did a few casual juggles with the ball and passed it to a teammate.
On receiving it back again, Forest’s Brennan Johnson clattered into him with intensity. The tackle was perceived differently by onlookers. Those with a soft spot for Spurs or ‘Joga bonito’ believe that such tricks are not hurting anybody.
Others, however, saw it as disrespectful and needless. This contrast in opinions is best displayed in the words of the two managers after the game. Speaking in an interview after the full-time whistle, Forest manager Steve Cooper said (h/t Football.London):
“I wouldn’t want my players to do what Richarlison did. It wouldn’t be accepted here.”
On the contrary, Spurs boss Antonio Conte thinks people are making a mountain out of a molehill. The Italian manager said in his post-match interview:
“I think he juggled with ball. It is a game, you’re under pressure and I don’t think Richy wanted to show to be disrespectful against Nottingham Forest. We have great respect and for sure Richy thinks in the same way.”
Perhaps this was Richarlison’s way of getting to his team’s opponents, which he did, in all honesty. He has a knack for doing that, even from his Everton days. However, he should be focused more on making tangible contributions rather than looking for other ways to grab the headlines.
He did not start for Conte yet again and only came on as a substitute. This is surely what he would not envision for his future here at N17 and while Conte played down the former Everton man’s antics in his presser, it is anyone’s guess how he would react to it in the dressing room.
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Roberto Mancini once famously subbed off Mario Balotelli in a friendly game for Manchester City when he tried a needless backheel finish against LA Galaxy 11 years ago. Managers don’t usually take kindly to such stuff.