Tottenham Hotspurs hit another dead end in terms of winning a trophy with an elite manager as Antonio Conte was removed from his role on Sunday night. It comes a week after he gave an extraordinary post-match conference following a draw against bottom-placed Southampton blasting his players and firing shots at the board as well. The club announced Conte has left by mutual consent and Cristian Stellini will take the team as acting head coach for the remainder of the season, along with Ryan Mason as assistant head coach.
Conte was appointed on 2 November 2021 following Nuno Espirito Santo’s unsuccessful spell at the club who only joined in the summer of that year. He was initially approached to take the reign but declined which led Spurs to appoint the former Wolves manager in the first place. The Italian signed an 18-month contract which was due to expire in June but before that, he received the sacking. It was inevitable as there was no movement on his extension with the performance on the pitch not helping either.
The former Chelsea man managed the club to a fourth spot in a strong end to last season. However, even with a lot of spending done in the summer last year Conte failed to get the best out of Tottenham leaving them without a trophyless season once again. Spurs expected themselves to be title contenders under the experience of a league title-winning manager but it always seemed like Antonio Conte’s arrival was a marriage that would eventually end in divorce.
Here are the results that led to Antonio Conte’s departure from the club:
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Tottenham: Going out early in Carabao Cup
Tottenham traveled to Nottingham for a third-round tie against Forest in the Carabao Cup in November last year having already won at the City Ground earlier in the Premier League, bottom-placed then. Steve Cooper’s side sustained a credible home record but the Spurs were favorites to progress in this clash. Yet they managed to slip. After a goalless first half, Renan Lodi and Jesse Lingard scored within 12 minutes of the restart to eliminate the dumbfounded visitors. Tottenham managed only two shots on target in the entire match despite keeping most of the possession of the ball. Elimination from their entry round in the competition was a bitter pill to swallow.
Tottenham 0-2 Arsenal: Trouble record against the top six
Losing the double against arch-rivals Arsenal in the North London derby for the first time in nine years was another downfall of the campaign. A 3-1 loss at the Emirates and then a 2-0 home defeat in the fixture showed the difference between both sides this season. Where Arsenal are flying high to secure a first Premier League title since the 2003/04 invincible season in another remarkable period of the club’s history, Spurs are struggling to stay in the top four. They also grabbed only seven points facing a top side in seven such matches so far that too coming in the 1-1 draw and 2-0 over Chelsea against a side still trying to find their usual rhythm under new ownership and a 1-0 home win against City albeit without Conte in that match for health issues.
Leicester City 4-1 Tottenham: Dismal away form in the league
Christian Stellini took charge of most of the games in the period between February and March in Conte’s absence because of his surgery and while the results at home were pleasant, the away ones painted a completely different picture. Like the defeat to Leicester City at King Power Stadium only a week after a confidence-building win over Manchester City in the Premier League. Spurs took the lead in the game in the 14th minute through Rodrigo Bentancur but then the home side remarkably turned it around with Nampalys Mendy and James Maddison scoring two quick-fire with Kelechi Iheanacho also finding the net on the stroke of half-time. Harvey Barnes added a fourth to rub salts on the wound.
Tottenham 0-0 Milan: Elimination from Champions League
The concerning away form made its way to Europe as well with Tottenham losing their first leg of the round of 16 tie against AC Milan at San Siro in the Champions League. It was only a 1-0 loss so there was a chance for Spurs to overturn it using their more convincing record at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium. Instead, the home side showed a flat performance with a lack of ambition and appetite to clear the deficit. The Serie A holders were not convincing on their part but managed to see out the game to move into the quarterfinals. Defender Christian Romero was also sent-off. Spurs were eliminated from the Champions League and far worse Antonio Conte was in the dugout to witness it.
Sheffield United 1-0 Tottenham: FA Cup misery
Probably the most shocking result came in the fifth round of the FA Cup when Tottenham fell to Championship side Sheffield United, although topping their league, in another horror show on the travels. The factor that still does not fit well is Conte deciding to keep Harry Kane on the bench for this crucial match in the competition they could try to win to end their long trophy drought. Sheffield United also fielded a second-string side for the clash which makes this defeat even more pinching to the fans. Substitute Lliman Ndiaye scored the winning goal with 10 minutes left on the clock and confirmed another barren season for Tottenham.
Southampton 3-3 Tottenham: Drawing with the basement club in Conte’s last game
Things just did not go better for Tottenham as their good run of games at home only peppered the cracks of a fractured relationship between the manager and the players for a while. The 3-3 draw against another bottom-placed side, Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League caused it to fall apart completely. Spurs somehow let the Saints get back into the game while leading 3-1 till the 74th minute with opposition captain James Ward-Prowse sharing the points from the spot in virtually the last kick of the game. It left Tottenham without an away win in all competition for two months. Most importantly this was the game that shattered the Italian’s patience as he went about with a rant in the post-match presser, openly venting his frustration toward the players and the board in a way to show his honesty about the situation. It proved to be his last game at the club.