Antonio Conte says he was never in contention to manage Manchester United this campaign and has played down claims he did not fit the profile of candidate they were looking to take over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Tottenham boss was one of the many names to be linked with the position at Old Trafford last year as pressure mounted on Solskjaer before his sack.
Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo after Tottenham’s defeat to United last October, though Solskjaer would also be sacked three weeks later after the continued loss of form in the league.
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This weekend will see the first meeting of United since Conte and Ralf Rangnick took over at their clubs, and ahead of the game, the Tottenham head coach was asked about being reportedly overlooked for the United job.
“Honestly, I think that [when] United decided to sack Solskjaer, I [had already] signed for Tottenham,” Conte said at his pre-match press conference.
“I enjoyed doing this because, at that moment, I found this situation very good for me, to work in a modern club with a fantastic stadium, with a fantastic training ground, with a big task to try to build something important, to build something competitive for the future.
“It [Solskjaer’s sacking] happened after I signed, but honestly, I am so focused on the Tottenham job that I didn’t read this.
“Now the present is Tottenham for me. I repeat, I’m enjoying a lot working at this club with these players. We are trying to improve, to increase our level, this is our target in this moment. I repeat, I’m enjoying it.”