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Report: Tottenham ready to fire Conte this week after scathing rant

Tottenham Hotspur FC / Getty

Antonio Conte, the embattled Tottenham Hotspur manager who questioned the club's ambitions and ridiculed the players' mentality in a scathing rant following last weekend's 3-3 draw at Southampton, is expected to leave the north London outfit later this week, sources told The Telegraph's Matt Law.

Assistant coach Ryan Mason, who played for Spurs from 2008-16, is reportedly considered the strongest candidate to replace Conte on an interim basis.

Earlier Monday, The Guardian's David Hytner reported Conte would leave the club no later than the summer when his contract with Tottenham is set to expire. However, a dressing-room source told Hytner that several players would welcome an immediate coaching change.

Conte unleashed a tirade after his players blew a 3-1 lead in the final 15 minutes of their match against bottom-of-the-table Southampton. The setback came just over a week after AC Milan knocked Tottenham out of the Champions League in the round of 16.

"It's the right moment to speak because I think that after this performance, for me, this is unacceptable," the Italian told reporters. "I see selfish players, I see players that don't want to help each other and don't put their heart (into it)."

Conte appeared to direct his anger toward the club's hierarchy, including chairman Daniel Levy, whom fans have criticized for a lack of spending in previous transfer windows.

"They don't play for something important. They don't want to play under pressure, they don't want to play under stress. It is easy in this way," the coach added. "Tottenham's story is this: 20 years there is the owner, and they've never won something. Why?"

The 53-year-old reportedly assured Levy that he directed his comments at the squad, not upper management.

Asked about the players' reaction to the public haranguing, midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg called on Conte to elaborate on his comments.

"He gave a very honest and very open press conference. It is because he is not satisfied. You don't do that if you've reached the quarterfinal of the Champions League and if you're in the semifinal of the FA Cup," Hojbjerg said, per ESPN. "I understand that if you want to be successful as a team, you need 11 men who are committed to a project and a culture. But I think he has to elaborate on how he feels before you as a player can start measuring and weighing."

Despite the uproar over Conte's rant, Tottenham remain in fourth place in the Premier League table. Newcastle United are two points back of Spurs with two games in hand.

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