Tottenham told they ‘should have kept’ Conte with Arsenal playing ‘a part’ in his sacking

Joe Williams
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte looks dejected as he walks across the pitch

Martin Keown thinks Arsenal “played a part” in Antonio Conte’s sacking at Tottenham with the Gunners miles ahead of their rivals.

It was announced on Sunday evening that the Italian had left Spurs by mutual consent after 16 months in charge in north London.

His departure came after labelling his players “selfish” in a post-match rant after Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead against Southampton to draw 3-3.

Conte also seemed to have a pop at the Tottenham board with his criticism of the culture at the club and widespread reports last week indicated he was about to be sacked.

Tottenham are still in fourth place in the Premier League, although fifth-placed Newcastle United are just two points behind with two games in hand.

Conte’s assistant Cristian Stellini will now take over until the end of the season but former Arsenal defender Keown reckons Spurs should’ve stuck with Conte until the end of the campaign.

Keown said on talkSPORT: “I think they should have kept him until the end of the season, no doubt.”

When asked if he was just saying that because he’s a former Arsenal player, Keown added: “No – but now that you mention it – I think Arsenal have played a part.

“The fact that Arsenal are 20 points clear of Spurs and this time last year they were both in the run-in for the top-four places puts Spurs under enormous pressure.

“But it’s what happened in March. Going out of the FA Cup, what happened against AC Milan, the 3-3 game against Southampton… March was miserable for them.

“[Conte] knew he was going. He wanted to say, and needed to say, what was wrong at that football club and they need to take stock of that.”

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust wants Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and the club’s board to be transparent over their “clear strategy” for Tottenham moving forward.

“This departure will come as no surprise to Spurs fans,” a statement from the Supporters’ Trust read.

“The club’s board must now have a clear strategy for what and who comes next and it needs to tell this club’s supporters what that plan is. THST has repeatedly called for this and fans deserve it.

“Less than two years ago, at the end of the 2020/21 season in May, chairman Daniel Levy told supporters the club would focus on the recruitment of a head coach, saying they were ‘acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great club and a return to playing football with the style for which we are known’.

“Many supporters will feel the appointments of Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte following Jose Mourinho’s spell do not reflect the promises made above.

“In the same statement, Mr Levy said: ‘I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA’.

“As another season without silverware comes to an end, we would urge the club board to reassess those priorities before appointing a manager the entire fanbase will get behind and building a team that can truly challenge for domestic and European honours, respecting the traditions of our football club.”

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