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Directionless Tottenham appear to be stuck in vicious cycle with Antonio Conte & why the club needs to make decisive decision now

Tottenham have arrived at a major crossroads with Antonio Conte and face a big decision...


The inevitable feeling which has been looming over the white half of north London has finally happened: Antonio Conte’s team have stopped getting results.

A 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday highlighted the severe deficiencies in the Italian’s squad as Unai Emery’s men exposed them with ease.

Sluggish start to season

Following a brilliant end to last season, as Spurs rallied to finish in the top four by pipping their bitter north London rivals Arsenal to fourth, the club’s supporters had plenty of hope that the new campaign would be one of joy.

But so far, it has been quite the opposite. Up until Christmas, on the whole, the team were getting the right results, despite clearly underperforming and producing some questionable performances. Tottenham headed into the World Cup break sat in the top four and in the Champions League knockout stages.

However, the big question mark that was hanging over N17 was: is this a sustainable way of getting results? It turns out that consistently being the first team to concede in matches, having the lowest possession, and playing on the back foot was not sustainable…

Spurs have certainly had their fair share of injuries with key players like Dejan Kulusevski, Cristian Romero, Richarlison, Rodrigo Bentancur and Heung-min Son all missing large chunks of the season. This has certainly limited the players Conte has had at his disposal.

Another major talking point going into the World Cup break was Antonio Conte’s contract situation. The Italian has just six months remaining on his current deal, with the option to extend by a year, and the club were keen to resolve that and tie him down for longer.

But no advancements were made over the renewal of his deal and big question marks started to form as to whether the Italian would be sticking around for the long-term.

Now, add in a difficult draw with Brentford, defeat at home to Aston Villa and Conte continuing to be rather evasive in his answers about committing to the club, there is now very much a feeling like the club is at a real crossroads.

Spurs facing key decision: Back or sack Conte

The January transfer window is now open and the squad is in clear need of reinforcements. But, there feels like some hesitancy from the club to back a manager who could walk at any moment and who is yet to commit to them.

It is understandable from the club to be unsure about giving Conte the tools he needs given his current predicament. However, on the flip side, why would the Italian commit to the club, when they are unwilling to take the necessary steps to back his ambition of competing for major titles.

So, that now leaves Spurs in a vicious cycle in which the club are unwilling to commit to their manager unless he commits to them by renewing his deal, but a manager who is only willing to commit to them if they back him in the transfer window.

This uncertainty places Spurs on the back foot in a crucial month in which they must strengthen. For example, right-wing back is clearly an area they want to improve. Pedro Porro of Sporting CP appears to be the number one choice and a perfect fit for Conte’s system.

But that is the exact reason why a signing like Porro now feels a little bit meaningless, for the time being. Why sign a player for a manager who may not be here in the very near future?

This all leads to a key decision needing to be made by the club. Tottenham must now make a definitive call and take the lead to break the uncertainty: do you back him or sack him?

Conte is a hugely demanding manager and one who must be competing for major silverware. Everyone knows the baggage that comes with him: it’s either his way or no way. But his way has delivered him so much domestic success in the past and that’s exactly what Spurs fans now want the club to start doing, but the worrying feeling is that the people at the top of the club don’t quite seem to share this same ambition.

Spurs knew exactly what they were getting into when hiring a coach like Conte, and right now, all the fears about the feasibility of a relationship between Daniel Levy and Conte working are starting to ring true.

Tottenham have typically been a club who look to sign players who can be developed and turned into stars, at a relatively low cost. This goes quite against what Conte has been about.

This again leads to another question Spurs must face: do they want to be a win-now club, in line with the manager which they appointed, or do they want to stick to being a project club? But what they cannot do is to continue to be so indecisive and waste precious time as other clubs move clear of them.

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Jamie Brown

Jamie Brown

Writer for 101 Great Goals since 2017. Founder of @Daily_Hotspur.



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