Antonio Conte looks to have adjusted well to life at Tottenham Hotspur so far. After leaving Inter Milan this summer, many people betting on bet exchange sites predicted he would join Manchester United at some point this season, but instead, the eccentric Italian has ended up in North London. Conte built his reputation in England with Spur’s London rivals Chelsea, where he won the Premier League in 2017 playing a unique brand of football that bred excellent results and an impressive points tally.
Now, Conte faces a different task — getting a Spurs side that are clearly capable, but so bereft of confidence, to discover that winning mentality Conte is so famous for. Read on, as we discuss some of the things the Italian will need to do to get Spurs winning again.
‘The biggest challenge yet’
Conte has worked with a plethora of great teams, all of which have taken some time to adjust to the way he plays. It took a heavy defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates in 2016 to realise he needed a back three to sort out Chelsea’s defensive vulnerability, and ended up winning the league from it. Judging from the early games, you can already see Conte is pushing his players hard, and they look to be pressing much higher up the pitch and creating far more turnovers.
While Harry Kane is yet to discover his best form again, and getting him back firing will be a massive asset, there are still plenty of adjustments to be made over the next few months, with the Italian admitting the job is going to be tough: “Biggest challenge, yes. But as I said in Mura, I’m not scared about this,” he said. “We need a bit of time but I’m sure we can improve a lot and give satisfaction to our fans. But this is a big challenge for me. This is a big challenge for the club. This is a big challenge for the players. For everybody.”
Consistency is key
One problem Spurs faced in the early stages of the season, carrying on from last year as well, is consistency. The team has garnered a reputation for coming up short in the big moments and when they look like a run of momentum is being built, capitulation is always round the corner — it seemed inevitable under NunoEspírito Santo despite winning the first three games of the season. Conte needs to baton down the hatches and remain as organised as they were in the home win over Brentford, only then can they start to win games regularly and climb the league table. We have no doubt that Conte can eventually instil that mentality into his team, but it certainly isn’t an overnight project and we might not see results really pick up regularly until the new year.
Winning a trophy
This is a Tottenham side who simply can’t get over the line. From the Champions League run of 2019 to last season’s League Cup final, this current crop of players doesn’t seem to have the bottle to get their hands on silverware. Conte is a serial winner, and you only have to look at his trophy collection to see that he ticks all the right boxes to end that 13-year drought in North London. His Milan side were resolute and passionate, a reflection of the Italian’s own personality, but admittedly they are still missing a few ingredients before they can really compete. The January transfer window will certainly be interesting as we see who Conte will recruit and move on to suit his hardworking, energetic system.