An Antonio Conte team is easy to identify. The philosophy of the Italian coach remains the same wherever he goes with small tweaks according to the quality of the players at his disposal. He wins wherever he goes but life at Spurs won’t be as easy as he has found at his previous clubs. There are deep-rooted problems at Tottenham currently and apart from the world-class facilities at the stadium and the training ground, the club is struggling to compete on-field.
Tottenham did try to sign Conte in the summer but things didn’t work out as the Italian tried to explain in his first interview with the club that he still wasn’t ready to move on after leaving Inter Milan at the end of the season. Spurs thereafter appointed Nuno Espirito Santo but that marriage seemed flawed from the very beginning. Just 10 games into the season, the club pulled the plug on the relationship and finally got their man. So what will Conte bring to the field? Let’s find out here.
A WINNING MENTALITY
Antonio Conte is a proven winner, he has won nine trophies in total in his managerial career so far. His most recent trophy is probably the biggest, as he managed to win the Serie A with Inter Milan, a feat that looked impossible at the start of the season.
He has tasted success in England previously with another London based club, Chelsea. In his time with the Blues, he won the Premier League and the FA Cup in the subsequent season. He sure knows how to win the big trophies and get his players performing on a different level in key fixtures.
A typical Antonio Conte team would be set up in a compact 3-5-2, looking to keep things tight in the middle of the park and hurt the opposition on the counter. Conte may seek to strengthen the spine of his team in future transfer windows but in the meantime, he will hope to get the best from Pierre-Emilie Hojberg, Giovanni Lo Celso and Dele Alli.
He’d be concerned about the centre-backs in the squad as they have tendencies of falling asleep in key moments of the games. In Conte’s words, if these players won’t do what is desired of them, the Italian manager would ‘kill them’.
Conte loves to have two forwards working in tandem trying to get the best out of each other. Harry Kane and Heung Min Son may just be the perfect strike partners for a Conte team. He may be able to reinvigorate Kane, the same way he did with Romelu Lukaku at Inter.
At Inter, Conte had Lautaro Martinez alongside Lukaku, at Chelsea, it was Eden Hazard and Diego Costa. Now at Spurs, he has Kane and Son who are of the same quality as the above four. He needs the team to be lethal at the counter-attack, something Spurs were doing to great effect under Jose Mourinho in the previous season. The difference under Conte would be that he’d want his wing-backs to start these counters and he can have exactly that with Sergio Reguilon and Emerson Royal or Matt Doherty.
A DIFFICULT TEAM TO BEAT
What Antonio Conte does the best is that he makes his team set up in a way that becomes extremely difficult to beat. His three at the back becomes five while defending and has strong tacklers in the middle of the park who don’t let the opposition midfielders any time on the ball in their own half.
With the counter-attack threat his teams possess, the opposition becomes tentative in committing plenty of forward runners. We’ve seen glimpses of this philosophy in his first two games with Spurs but there’s surely more to come from Tottenham under Conte.
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