Son Heung-min's Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has received an apology from Hicharlisson, who has publicly complained about the bench. He didn't blame me."

According to Sky Sports in the UK, Conte responded to local reporters' questions about his relationship with Hicharlisson at a press conference in London, England.

"He said this season has been a mess," Conte said, "Hicharlisson has been injured a lot. I can't like the season."

"It was a good start, but then I got hurt. I went there hoping to go to the World Cup, but I came back with an injury and took another month off," he said, adding, "In the league, it's 0 goals. I scored two goals in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), so I'm honestly saying I'm having a bad season."

Earlier, Hicharlisson told TNT Sport after the UCL Round of 2 second leg against AC Milan at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London the day before, saying he was not convinced by Conte's instructions to move to the bench.

Hicharlisson said: "This is a really messy season. I had injuries and I didn't play properly," he said, "I think I should have played (as a starter)."

He said he started on the bench even though the coaching staff mentioned the possibility of starting the day before the game, adding: "I'll see what Conte says to me tomorrow. Neither I nor anyone else is stupid."

Hicharlisson, who was in charge of Brazil's front line at last year's World Cup in Qatar, joined Tottenham before the season opener and expressed his expectation that "I always dreamed of playing in the UCL".

Hicharlisson, who scored twice in the group stage against Marseille (France) in his UCL debut last September, has yet to taste a goal in the remaining 16 official games this season.

Following the English Football Association (FA) Cup and subsequent elimination from the UCL, Tottenham's 'irrelevance' has become a fait accompli, so has criticism surrounding Conte's leadership.

Conte said: "I have spoken many times in press conferences what I have found out about this team. It's a far cry from the will to win or compete more."

"We've been saying for a long time that we need time and patience, but that environment hasn't been created. Maybe they're not trying to accept reality," he said, adding, "We can't work miracles. The reality is that I'm not the kind of person who can do that."

Conte, who took the baton in November 2, has a contract until this season.

Conte said: "Everyone knows I have signed a one-year, six-month contract with the club. A typical contract is for three years," he said, adding, "I think that means we're going to see things (later), whether it's the team or myself."

Tottenham sit fourth in the league with 9 wins, 2 draws and 24 losses.

(Photo=AP, Yonhap News)