Daniel Levy made a telling confession after he fired Jose Mourinho – the ninth Tottenham manager he has worked under since becoming chairman in 2001.
“I feel like we’ve lost sight of some key priorities and what’s really in our DNA,” he told fans ahead of last season’s final game against Aston Villa. Spurs as a club are known for their attacking football but not for their cutlery.
The dismal style of football under Mourinho left the team looking for a sense of identity as they plummeted down the Premier League standings and out of every major competition except the League Cup, before being knocked out ahead of April’s last defeat to Manchester City.
Antonio Conte may not be a traditional Spurs boss, but his winning mentality could change the culture at the club
The Spurs chief has promised that he is not just looking for someone who can build a successful team, but “someone whose values mirror those of our club.” In this day and age – as was discovered with Mourinho – it can be a daunting task to find a coach who can do both. The news that Antonio Conte could soon take over proves that.
But Levy knows he is running out of time to find the right manager for this club before it gets old. With a £1bn stadium to fund, one of the best strikers in world football looking to exit and an expensive squad losing its value, Spurs urgently need someone who can coach this team and help them achieve their goals. groove to find.
Conte may not play the elaborate football fans crave, but he is one who delivers quick turnarounds and turns struggling sides into winners.
Daniel Levy would take a risk hiring the Italian, but few managers with Conte’s track record are in the game
Conte has won the league title in five of his last seven seasons in club management
He took over a Chelsea team that had just finished 10th in 2015-16 and won the Premier League title the following year. When he arrived at Inter Milan in 2019, they hadn’t finished higher than 4th since 2011. They came second in his debut year and won the league the following season.
Conte’s promise is the promise of a ‘win now’ manager – the kind of manager Spurs thought they would get with Mourinho. That fear of deja-vu will linger when the Italian gets the keys to the kingdom. One of the greatest managers in the history of the game couldn’t bring success to the Spurs, how will this end?
So Conte poses a risk to Levy. But is there another manager who has the tactical prowess to rack up trophies in their first season, as well as the reputation that could convince Harry Kane to stay put?
That will be the main thought of the Tottenham supremo as he weighs in on his next boss – a man who has won the domestic title at club level in five of his last seven seasons.
Tottenham thought they had instant success with Jose Mourinho, but his style and personality didn’t suit the team
It’s no secret that Levy wanted Mauricio Pochettino back – a move for the Romantics that would have been a crowd pleaser and give the club a semblance of happiness and stability. But it would have been a decision from the heart, rather than the head.
Traces cannot be ruled by nostalgia or sentiment, they cannot afford to go backwards. Conte offers a step forward, maybe just for a few seasons, but standing still is no longer an option – not if they want to keep up with the elite.
Levy is already under pressure from fans outraged by the club’s involvement in the European Super League. If you do this next appointment wrong, the chorus of calls to leave the club will only get stronger.
The club could have easily hired someone like Graham Potter from Brighton – a promising young manager with an attractive style – but that is a project. Kane’s comments – expressing his appetite for “team trophies” – have made it clear that projects in north London are no longer possible.
Spurs are stagnant and at risk of getting old if they don’t hire a manager who can win trophies
Chelsea quit their own project by firing Frank Lampard and bringing in Thomas Tuchel and were given the job – but no one is complaining now after becoming champions of Europe.
Known for his three-back and jaw-dropping counter-attacks, Conte can’t just organize and play his best at Tottenham, he could be key in talks with Kane about his future.
The England captain wants trophies – Conte can deliver them. The Italian has previously admitted that he sees Kane as his ‘dream forward’ and has reportedly demanded that the club’s talisman cannot be sold if he wants to take charge.
“If I had to buy one striker, I would go to Kane,” he said in 2017. “He is a complete striker. He is physically strong, with the ball, without the ball, he fights and he is strong in the air and acrobatic right and left.
“He is a complete player. He is one of the best strikers in the world. If you’re going to buy Kane now, it would be at least £100 million.”
Tottenham must show they are making big strides to keep Harry Kane – and Conte could be the man to convince him to stay
He once called the England captain his dream striker who is ‘the complete player’
With three years left on his contract, his insistence that Kane remain is not unattainable, and the striker will see Conte as someone who can make things happen. Despite confessing his love for Pochettino, his return was not enough to stop him from going elsewhere.
If Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp arrived at the club he would think differently – and you could say Conte is in that bracket.
Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the fiery Italian – infamous for his hot-headed antics on the sidelines – is a ‘love him or loathe him’ character. Stand on his good side like Romelu Lukaku, and you can reach the top of your game. Get on his bad side like Diego Costa and the locker room can get toxic.
Conte is strict with his players, but he usually gives the right response. You only had to see his reaction to Lautaro Martinez after the Argentinian moped to the bench after being substituted for Inter – he kicked a water bottle and threw his shirt.
Conte is not everyone’s cup of tea and has a history as a hothead, both on the sidelines and in the locker room
He got into a notorious feud with Diego Costa at Chelsea and will not shy away from a feud
But stand on his good side – like Romelu Lukaku – and players can take their game to the next level
He scolded the attacker and said to him, “Have respect! Who are you mad at? Never react like that again.’ The feud was resolved the next day — when the pair donned gloves during practice to contest a prank boxing match.
So how will the Spurs players react to him? Mourinho’s hard love didn’t go down well, but neither did his tactics. Conte’s system usually has an immediate impact when the players buy his methods, then the rest of the pieces should fall into place.
Former Southampton star Graziano Pelle thrived under Conte for the Italian national team and was delighted with how the coach had set them up.
“Conte is preparing well for the game,” he said after the Italian led them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win over Spain. “It’s hard to explain how good he is. He works very simply, he does not complicate things.
Conte’s spells usually don’t last long, but Spurs don’t need a project – they need progress
“He’s been a footballer, so he knows how to explain parts of the game and he’s realistic.”
We know that Conte’s rule doesn’t usually end well. He had a troubled relationship with the Juventus board before stepping down, got into a fight with Chelsea chiefs – who found him too hot to handle following his spat with Costa – and quit Inter after becoming frustrated with the lack of resources from his side. the club.
But if he can make Tottenham an overnight success, a bitter ending will be an easy pill to swallow. This is a born winner – who damned the club’s mentality when he was in charge at Chelsea and insisted it was ‘no tragedy’ if they didn’t win trophies.
This is a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind – and with Tottenham in need of a reality check, this unlikely match could be a perfect fit.