Will Conte be Tottenham manager for much longer?

Well, I am not sure that Antonio Conte was ever the right pick for Tottenham. Spurs are a club who make a big deal out of playing football that is exciting to watch, that has flair and passion at it’s heart, that takes risks. Well, that is not who Antonio Conte is as a manager or was as a player. Conte is a risk-averse manager. His first instinct is to make sure you don’t lose. And you cannot deny that it has been extremely successful for him. Four Serie A titles with Juventus and Inter Milan, a Premier League title and an F.A. Cup with Chelsea. That is not a resume to be sniffed at, especially at a club that is so desperate for a trophy, any trophy. But this also speaks to a club that has been run unbelievably poorly. I mean that from a footballing sense; Tottenham have done a huge amount of work to increase their brand and that will pay off commercially. However, from the moment that Tottenham sacked Mauricio Pochettino, they have looked completely at sea. None of the last three managers that Daniel Levy has put in place have been your typical Spurs manager.

Jose Mourinho has been as successful as any manager could wish to be. His record does not need repeating here and his innovations and influence can and will be felt in the game for many years to come. But his footballing philosophy was so different to his immediate predecessor that it was a shock to Spurs fans. The less said about Nuno Espirito Santo’s brief, doomed time in charge, the better for all concerned really. Conte was the man that Levy wanted to hire after Mourinho had been dismissed before the end of the previous season. But, ever since he has taken charge, Conte has never seemed particularly keen on sticking around for a while. For starters, he only signed up for 18 months. There is an option in his contract for another year, but given everything that has gone on this season, it seems more and more remote that either side will want to make use of it.

The football that Tottenham have played all season, and in particular on Wednesday night, was dull, unimaginative and lacking any sort of drive or spark. It was a horrible contract that one of their great rivals had pulled over exactly what Tottenham needed to do just the night before. Chelsea have an even worse record over the course of this season. Yet, they were able to turn the game around and secure their progress into the quarter-finals in what was easily the highest point of Graham Potter’s time in charge so far. Chelsea hope that their last two games shows they have turned a corner and can still make something out of this season. Tottenham’s performance on Wednesday showed a team with no ideas, no energy, who are coming into a terrible patch of form at the exact wrong time. The game against Milan was their third in a row with so much as scoring a single goal. They never looked like they were going to score. Tottenham could have played for five hours and still not scored at all.

So, Levy looks like he will be looking for another head coach, his fourth since sacking Pochettino. Now, I think the decision to sack Pochettino can be strongly argued to be the right one. Tottenham’s league form had been sliding into relegation form even as they made progress towards the Champions League, culminating in that unbelievable night in Amsterdam. But, he couldn’t arrest the slide in the league the following season, and the cycle had clearly come to an end. But Levy has not found the man who could actually build on what Pochettino put in place to take Spurs where they want to be. They have been no closer to challenging for the Premier League title since their second place finish in 2017 (ironically to a Chelsea managed by Antonio Conte). There has been one cup final appearance since Pochettino left and two of those seasons have seen Spurs playing in the Europa League and the Europa Conference League. Not exactly the glitzy stage they envisioned when they moved into their £1 billion stadium. And, as Matt Law of the Telegraph pointed out, if Tottenham do end going back to Pochettino, they will do so having spent somewhere around £50 million sacking Pochettino, hiring three different managers and their backroom teams and then firing those three managers and their backroom teams. And that is crazy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s