After sacking Jose Mourinho, Daniel Levy promised that the next manager of Tottenham will stay true to the club’s DNA. This was before the beginning of a long hunt in the summer of 2021 for a new manager. Antonio Conte nearly joined Spurs in the summer but decided against it at the very last minute. Now three months after Nuno Espirito Santos took charge, Conte has signed a deal to manage Tottenham for the next 18 months. Conte joining a club in the middle of the season is in stark contrast to his managerial career. He values a pre-season of atleast one month to impart his ideas into the minds of the players. This is the reason why he insisted on patience during his first press conference as Tottenham manager. In this article, we will look in detail about Conte’s footballing philosophy.
STRICT TRAINING REGIME
Conte likes to have a large back room staff, focussing mainly on the fitness of a player. Under Conte, every Spurs player would be expected to work tirelessly and they need to be in the best possible shape to do so. He also likes the players to get know each other as human beings and thus strictly ensures that everybody is bonding well together.
Conte’s footballing philosophy demands lengthy video analysis sessions. He wants his players to spend ample time dissecting the opposition. More than all the above-mentioned points, attitude is paramount for Conte. As he once famously said to Thierry Henry, he prefers to kill players who do not have the right approach.
Conte likes a three man defense but his preference for a variety of central defenders is well known. In 2016, he made a decision to bring Luiz back to Chelsea and the decision was unpopular at that time. However, Luiz became a vital member of the PL winning side and his usual error-prone self was gone for the time being. Another recent example is Ashley Young who looked all but finished at Manchester United. Conte bought him and revived his career at Inter Milan and similarly he has impacted the careers of many veterans.
Against Everton, Conte went with Davies, Dier and Romero as his central defenders. At Inter Milan, he used left-back Kolarov on the left side of his central defense to create passing angles. Hence, he is bound to go with Davies as the left-footed central defender at Tottenham. In the future, he could opt for a Cruyff style back-three with Romero in the middle, while Davies and Doherty play on either side of him.
Wing-backs are an integral part of Conte’s footballing philosophy. At Inter Milan, he combined a more attacking wing-back such as Hakimi with a more dogmatic player like Young at the opposite flank. Reguilon is known for his attacking skills, hence he is likely to be paired with the more defensive Emerson Royal.
In the midfield, Conte prefers two box-to-box midfielders on either side of a defensive midfielder who is good at distributing the ball. Hojberg, Lo Celso and Ndombele are likely to be the three central midfielders. None of them are as good as Brozovic at passing the ball and controlling possession. Hence, Harry Winks has a chance of earning a first-team place due to his prized passing skill-set.
Finally, Kane and Son will be the forwards and can imitate Martinez and Lukaku’s success at Inter Milan. Both can drop deep and dictate play, in addition to being clinical in front of the goal. Kane is woefully out of form, much like Lukaku was when he joined Inter Milan. To conclude, expect Conte to turn around Tottenham Hotspur’s fortunes, even if it takes some time for him to do so.