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Antonio Conte

How Antonio Conte revitalized Spurs into an elite side

Antonio Conte Spurs

Having held on to Harry Kane, anticipation mounted at Tottenham to kick-off the 21/22 season. Summer recruits Emerson Royal and Cristian Romero sparked hope in the hearts of many Spurs fans. Both shored up an otherwise aging defense.

This excitement reached its climax on Matchday One. A goal by Heung-min Son saw Spurs shock reigning champions Manchester City. Tottenham held on for a 1-0 victory.

Their next two matches were just as cagey. Yet, the side’s defensive fortitude was enough to hold off both Wolves and Watford, putting Spurs top of the table. Unfortunately, Nuno’s anticipation wore off quickly.

Heavy defeats to Crystal Palace, Chelsea, and North London rivals Arsenal ensued. Suddenly, the side fell to 11th by matchday six. Then, Spurs’ troubles continued to brew in the Premier League. Tensions reached a boiling point following a heavy 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at home. This was the final straw for Nuno Espírito Santo.

The following week, Antonio Conte arrived to steer Spurs back into Champions League contention.

Antonio Conte overhauls Spurs

Coming off a Scudetto victory managing Inter Milan, expectations were high for the former Chelsea manager. Rather than succumb to the pressure, Conte made his objective abundantly clear: bring Premier League glory to Tottenham. This feat seemed impossible for his debut season. However, he ensured that, with strong recruitment and a fighting mentality, it is possible. Conte’s made an immediate impact with his tactical imprint. Tottenham’s lackluster attack quickly transformed into a a considerable force.

Due to heavy rotation, the side struggled in the UEFA Conference League, however their Premier League success was undeniable.  Heading into the January transfer window, Spurs remained undefeated in the Premier League under Conte’s management. With January recruitment expected to come, the future looked bright for the London side. A 2-0 defeat in January at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea halted Spurs’ invincible form. Moreover, the loss signaled the need for reinforcement.

Daniel Levy moved quick to fulfil Conte’s orders. Juventus duo Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski arrived on deadline day. Though neither signing brought huge celebrations, they provided low-risk depth to reinforce the club’s push for Champions League qualification.

February was a month to forget for Antonio Conte. His side managed a strong 3-1 victory against Brighton. On the other hand, back-to-back defeats at the hands of Southampton and Wolves struck the wrong nerve. After 25 matchdays Tottenham were in 6th place, 3 points back of the final Champions League Qualification spot. Most expected their next match away to Manchester City to further rub salt in the wound of Conte’s men. Such was the nature of the poor run of form.

Turnaround victory

Instead, Tottenham showed the world that you should always expect the unexpected when it comes to Spurs. Inspired performances by new signing Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane lifted Spurs to a 3-2 victory. For the second time this season, City left a game against Spurs stunned. The young Swede, Kulusevski, continued his strong start in North London. Notably, he had a role in five goals over his next six matches. All signs pointed to Conte’s men forming an unstoppable attack. For example, the side scored 25 goals in their next seven Premier League games. Consequently, Spurs won six of those seven.

This run of form propelled Antonio Conte and Spurs into the much-allured 4th spot. Back in November, at Conte’s arrival, this seemed like a ludicrous dream. Tottenham ended the season with just one defeat in its final ten games. Their strong form, coupled with the disappointing performances from Manchester United and Arsenal, saw Tottenham secure 4th spot. Heung-min Son ended the season as the Premier League’s top goal-scorer. Plus, Dejan Kulusevski shattered the record books with an impressive 13 goal contributions. This is the most of any January signing in the history of the Premier League.

Building for 2022/23

At the turn of the summer, rumors hinted at Antonio Conte’s departure. To quell those fears, Spurs appeased the manager’s demands in the summer transfer window. First off, Ivan Perišić on a free transfer was a massive coup. Previously, the Croatian played a key role for Conte’s Scudetto-winning side. The treble-winning wingback is coming off one of his best seasons, contributing to 19 goals for Inter this season.

In addition, Tottenham purchased Yves Bissouma, a midfielder long-poised for a step up to a top side. With a new level of spending capital courtesy of ENIC Sports investing over $180 million into the club, Antonio Conte and Spurs can target big-name players. For instance, the club is set to secure the services of Brazilian international Richarlison. In doing so, the frontline looks as lethal as ever.

Known as “The Godfather” in Italy, Conte will hope to strike gold in his second season at the helm and shatter Tottenham’s 14 year trophy drought.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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