When Tottenham secured a hard-fought and last-gasp draw away at Chelsea last summer, it looked like a new dawn. Spurs had come back from a goal down to secure a 2-2 draw courtesy of a late Harry Kane strike, but that game is not remembered for what really happened on the pitch, but what happened off it. Then Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel and Conte were embroiled in a skirmish that caused a huge uproar, which more or less signalled the beginning of the end of the German tactician at Stamford Bridge.
Spurs were expected to kick on from that draw that felt that they had finally arrived as a true superpower in the Premier League, but in 7 months, that memory looks like a pipe dream. They are currently 4th on 48 points from 27 matches, a game more than almost every team in the league. There have been reports that Conte may leave the club at the end of the season as he has grown disillusioned with life in North London following a number of disagreements over player targets and how he wants to work.
For all of Conte’s feisty character, he is also known to be too intense, with reports suggesting that the staff at the training ground are not happy with some of his methods. Former manager Mauricio Pochettino has been rumoured to be in the running for the job, and there is a cross-section of fans that are excited about the return of the Argentine, who led Spurs to the Champions League Final in 2019, and is still a firm fan favourite. Conte is believed to be interested in returning to his native Italy, and there are possible destinations for the former Italy manager, who made history at both Juventus and Inter Milan.
Spurs were kicked out of the FA Cup in disappointing fashion in the 5th Round to second-tier Sheffield United, while they looked toothless against AC Milan in the Champions League Round of 16, leading to more questions about the future of Conte, who remarkably opined that the Spurs hierarchy could sack him. Qualification for the Champions League represents their only chance of “success”, but it will be hard given that the competition for the final place in next season’s Champions League is so steep. Conte’s body language looks like someone who has mentally given up.
The style of play is not too pleasing to the eye; it is too reactive. Academy players are not coming through, and some of the players are simply not being trusted enough, more like what Richarlison mentioned recently in an interview where he criticized Conte for not starting him more. Only Harry Kane has maintained his consistent performances, reaching 20 league goals with a double against Nottingham Forest.
It’s time to let go. The union is not working.
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