Help Harry Kane and win over the fans: What Antonio Conte must fix at Tottenham

The Italian has been appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor

Pa Sport Staff
Tuesday 02 November 2021 12:11
The best of Antonio Conte on the sidelines at Inter

Antonio Conte has plenty to address having been appointed the new head coach of Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs moved quickly to hire the Italian, who has signed an initial 18-month contract, after firing Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday morning.

Conte, who delivered the Premier League title to Chelsea in 2016-17 ahead of Spurs, had been out of work since leaving Inter Milan at the end of last summer, having just won the Scudetto.

He had previously been in advanced talks with Spurs in June about becoming Jose Mourinho’s successor, but they broke down after the two parties were at odds over key issues.

However, managing director Fabio Paratici is now in position at the Premier League club and has a strong relationship with the 52-year-old, having worked with him at Juventus.

And those differences have now been overcome, with chairman Daniel Levy looking to the serial winner to turn Spurs back into a force in English football.

“I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again,” Conte told the club website. “Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.

“I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.

“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching.

“But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”

Here, we take a look at what could be the Italian’s most pressing tasks.

Help Kane show he is still able

Harry Kane has struggled for form this season (Tim Goode/PA)

The goalscoring talisman of Tottenham’s recent years, Harry Kane has endured a tough start to the campaign. A failed move to Manchester City in the summer damaged his relationship with some Spurs fans and Nuno was unable to get him back to his best. Conte will know that, so long as Kane remains at the club, he will be reliant on the England captain and will need him to improve on his one goal in nine league games this season.

Get creative

All of Tottenham’s players have struggled to make their mark in front of goal this season. (Frank Augstein/AP)

The attacking statistics from Nuno’s ill-fated reign make for grim reading for the Portuguese. After Saturday’s loss to United, Tottenham have scored just nine goals from their 10 league games – only bottom club Norwich have scored fewer. The figures ahead of Sunday’s fixtures also saw Spurs in the bottom two for shots on goal and chances created – something Conte will have to fix quickly to turn things around.

The Italian jobs

Fabio Paratici (right) has been at Tottenham since the summer (Nick Potts/PA)

While forming a strong working relationship with chairman Daniel Levy is always key for a new Tottenham boss, building a similar bond with Fabio Paratici is now also important. Paratici was appointed as managing director of football at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the summer and played a major role in appointing Nuno as head coach. Conte already has a head start here given he worked alongside Paratici at Juventus and the two will be keen to hit the ground running.

Driving force

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham side suffered three defeats of three goals of more in his 10 games in charge (Nigel French/PA)

Suffering from a poor run of form is one thing, being accused of not putting in the effort to address a slump is something quite different. While the attacking figures were not Nuno’s friend, the defensive numbers make for grim reading – Leicester are the only side in the current top 14 to have shipped more goals than Tottenham’s 16 while they have lost three games by three or more goals, the worst in the top flight. Meanwhile the distance covered by the team per game is an average of 99km – the lowest of any Premier League side so far this season.

Start the fans, please

Nuno’s decision to substitute Lucas Moura in Saturday’s defeat to Manchester United was jeered by some Tottenham fans (Frank Augstein/AP)

There has been a increasingly negative atmosphere around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in recent weeks. That came to a head on Saturday, with decisions booed, the team jeered off and some fans turning on Nuno. Conte will be welcomed by most, despite having previously won the league at London rivals Chelsea, and he will want to reconnect the team and the fans as soon as possible – knowing the best way to do so is to provide results on the pitch.

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