Soccer-Spurs forward Son feels 'responsible' for Conte's exit

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - March 18, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min prepares to take a thrown-in Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min said he was sorry to see manager Antonio Conte leave the club and feels responsible for the Italian's exit after failing to replicate his excellent form from the previous campaign.

Son, 30, finished as the joint-top scorer in the Premier League with 23 goals to help Spurs finish fourth under Conte last season, but the South Korean has scored only six times in the league so far.

Tottenham parted ways with Conte on Sunday, eight days after he blasted his players as selfish, lacking team spirit and unable to play under pressure in an extraordinary media conference following a 3-3 draw at Southampton.

"As a player, I am really sorry. He's a world-class coach, and we had a great journey together," Son said after South Korea's 2-1 friendly loss to Uruguay in Seoul on Tuesday.

"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."

Tottenham have been eliminated from the domestic cup competitions as well as the Champions League. They are fourth in the Premier League with 49 points from 28 games and return to action at Everton on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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