Tottenham manager Antonio Conte said he would “die for this club” until the end of the season but admitted the contract he signed at the start of his tenure was strange.
Poor recent results and the looming end of the Italian’s contract have led to mounting speculation that he will soon leave the club.
But Conte urged “time and patience” on the eve of his team’s match against Nottingham Forest.
“If you ask me now am I ready now to die for this club? Yes,” he said on Friday. “Until the end, I am ready to die for this club. But I am not so stupid to kill myself.”
Spurs, beaten in the FA Cup last week and dumped out of the Champions League by AC Milan on Wednesday, are still in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The former Juventus, Chelsea, and Inter Milan boss said it was unusual to sign such a short contract when he joined in November 2021.
“You know with the club we signed a contract, a strange contract, one year and a half,” he said. “Usually you sign for three years but I think it was for the club and for myself to see the situation.
“For the club to understand my personality, my capacity as a coach, and for me — from my side it was the same. To understand if we were on the same page.
“Now after one year and a half, the club knows me, I know the club and it is clear this situation. We have to finish the season and then we will see.
“The club knows very well my thoughts. I am ready to die for this club until the end of the season.”
Conte also played down the extent of any rift with Richarlison, who complained in an interview this week over his lack of playing time.
The Spurs boss revealed the Brazil forward, who joined from Everton last year, had apologised for the incident.
“He started well with us, he then had an injury and went to the World Cup and had another injury, serious. He came back and stayed one month out.
“He scored zero goals with us (in the Premier League), only two goals in the Champions League and the guy was really honest to say his season was not good.”
Conte said he wanted to encourage a strong group mentality among his players.
“If we speak ‘I, I and I’, we are only thinking about himself. The guy understood very well and apologised, which is good because I had an opportunity to clarify for another time the spirit of the team.”