Spurs have finally parted with Antonio Conte by mutual consent, with chairman Daniel Levy offering an explanation of sorts in a quick message to the fans.
Conte had been under significant pressure throughout the international break after following up a disappointing 3-3 draw against Southampton with an incendiary post-match press conference during which he pointed the finger at everyone but himself.
The Italian blasted “selfish players… that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart into it,” questioned a lack of “fight”, “desire” and “fire” at the club, slammed the media for trying “to find an excuse for the players,” said “they don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress” because “Tottenham’s story is this,” and even turned on Levy for overseeing a single trophy in 20 years of ownership.
Prior public comments had already infuriated Levy as it became increasingly apparent that Conte and Spurs were as dreadful a match as many feared when he was first appointed in November 2021.
1.88 – Tottenham averaged 1.88 points per game in the Premier League under Antonio Conte (P56 W32 D9 L15), the second highest figure for any Spurs manager (min. 38 games in charge):
1.89 – Pochettino
1.88 – Conte
1.83 – Villas-Boas
1.74 – Redknapp
1.64 – Mourinho
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 26, 2023
The chairman has finally acted to bring a tumultuous reign to an end, marked with a 111-word statement on the official Spurs website.
Tottenham thanked the 53-year-old ‘for his contribution’ and confirmed that Cristian Stellini would become acting head coach for the rest of the season, with Ryan Mason as his assistant.
“We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place,” Levy said, before hinting at the reason behind Conte’s ‘mutually agreed’ departure.
“We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our club and amazing, loyal supporters.”
Danny Murphy had laid into Conte earlier in the week for failing in his remit as an elite coach.
“It’s time now. He has been overpaid and underachieved. He hasn’t delivered,” the pundit said.
“They sneaked into the top four last season because Arsenal threw it away. Tottenham have been in the top four many times, so that’s hardly an overachievement.
“They’ve gone out of the League Cup to Forest, FA Cup to Sheffield United, he’s causing chaos at least two or three times a season with his attitude.
“The football’s generally turgid, and nobody’s enjoying watching it.”
Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League table but ahead of Newcastle by only two points, with the Magpies boasting a couple of games in hand.
The north London side return to action following the international break with a game against Everton, followed by the visit of fellow Champions League qualification hopefuls Brighton.