Things have not been going great at Tottenham Hotspur. Since sacking Mauricio Pochettino, they have steadily declined. A team that once looked deadly every time they attacked had started to look tame, like a bee with no sting.
After just ten games in charge, Nuno Espirito Santo met the same fate as numerous managers in the ruthless world of the Premier League and lost his job. Shortly after this, Antonio Conte was announced as the new manager of Spurs, sparking excitement in their fan base.
Questions have to be asked regarding the Tottenham board at this stage. The hiring of Nuno seems foolish in retrospect, especially considering Conte was available back then. Nuno did great things at Wolves, but if the board weren’t willing to back his project then they shouldn’t have hired him in the first place.
However, things seem to be going in the right direction now with the signing of serial winner Antonio Conte. Many Chelsea fans will be devastated to see their former manager take the reins at the helm of their London rivals. But what can we expect to see from Conte at Spurs? Will he finally deliver long-awaited silverware?
Spurs managed to beat Leeds United 2-1 this weekend, which is Conte’s first Premier League win as Spurs manager. Their previous game against Everton took place mere days after he was hired, so we couldn’t expect to see much of a difference at that point.
The best thing about this victory was the passion that the team showed in the second half. It was far from a convincing performance overall, but it showed that the players are ready to fight for their new manager.
Leeds United was deservedly winning 1-0 after the first half, with Spurs fans booing their players off the pitch as they headed to the dressing room.
It’s unclear exactly what Conte said to the team during his halftime talk but when they stepped back out they played with a renewed vigour. The team began to reflect the passion of Conte himself, who is an animated character on the touchline, to say the least.
Goals from Hojbjerg and Reguilon put the boys in white ahead and saw them claim all three points.
To come back from behind and win a game takes one thing above all else: character. Whilst the performance was far from perfect, this team has been lacking that quality for quite some time now. To see Conte re-inject a little bit of passion into the club shows that he’s on the right track. And he has a history of doing this.
A former Juventus player, Conte’s first major managerial achievements came with the same club. He managed to win three consecutive Serie A titles after taking over a somewhat dejected Juventus side. Prior to this he had led Bari to a Serie B title and guided Siena to promotion.
Already, his managerial career was marked with success. After a stint managing the Italian national team, Conte finally arrived in the Premier League.
When Conte took over Spurs’ rivals Chelsea, they had just finished 10th in the league. They seemed directionless, like a ship lost at sea. Within his first season, Chelsea won the Premier League.
Under his guidance, they looked almost unstoppable. Even after a slightly less fortuitous season with the club, he managed to win an FA Cup. Seeing as Tottenham hasn’t won a trophy in quite some time, many fans feel that an FA Cup would be a dream come true right now.
After being dismissed by Chelsea, a notoriously trigger-happy club in terms of replacing managers, Conte took over at Inter Milan.
Again, the club was a shadow of their former selves at this point. Conte guided them to a Serie A trophy in his second season in charge, their first league title in 11 years.
Ironically, he prevented Juventus from winning their tenth title in a row, on a run he started. He managed to dethrone the champions that he had created.
If you’re noticing a common theme here, then you're not alone. Many pundits praise Conte’s ability to turn clubs around and guide them to silverware.
This is exactly what Tottenham needs, but is Conte good enough to outweigh the curse that has lingered around Spurs' success in recent years?
In the next few weeks, the Spurs players will have to match Conte's intensity out there on the pitch whilst putting some of his astute tactics into practice. Players such as Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son must start performing at their best again.
Tottenham’s next game is away against Burnley. On paper, they should win this bout. Burnley is a physical team and they won’t roll over, but Spurs have enough quality in their side to take all 3 points.
Recently, they have been allowing almost every team to outweigh them in terms of effort on the pitch. This can’t happen against Burnley.
After this, they have Brentford and Norwich at home. Considering these two teams weren’t even in the Premier League last year, this could be the perfect springboard upon which the team can launch into the stratosphere.
A good run of games now could make a huge difference to their season. As the points begin to rack up, confidence will grow. Tottenham's chances of finishing in the top four don’t look great, but they could still do it.
Their main focus should be silverware. Winning a trophy this season would make a statement and banish the hoodoo surrounding the club.
Spurs are more than capable of winning the FA Cup, League Cup, or Europa Conference Cup, and Conte could easily be the man to guide them.
Overall, the season is long and always contains unexpected twists and turns. Only time will tell what Antonio Conte will do at Spurs.