Sports, Football

Tottenham end unhappy relationship with Conte

By Reuters
Published : 27 Mar 2023 08:43 PM

Antonio Conte's increasingly fractious relationship with Tottenham Hotspur came to an end with the Premier League club announcing they had parted ways with the Italian on Sunday.

The writing had been on the wall since last weekend after Conte's furious reaction to a 3-3 draw with Southampton in the Premier League -- after which he lambasted his players.

"We can announce that head coach Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual agreement," Tottenham said in a statement.

"We achieved Champions League qualification in Antonio's first season at the club. We thank Antonio for his contribution and wish him well for the future."

Conte's assistant Cristian Stellini, who stood in for several games while Conte was recovering from surgery, takes over the first team, supported by former Spurs midfielder Ryan Mason, until the end of the season, the club said. "We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place," chairman Daniel Levy said in the statement. "We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our club and amazing, loyal supporters."

Conte leaves with Tottenham in fourth place in the Premier League and still well-placed to challenge for a top-four finish and qualify for the Champions League.

The reality is, however, that there has been a growing sense of drift since Tottenham's strong finish to last season enabled them to finish in fourth place in the table. Tottenham, who have not won a trophy since 2008, lost to second-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round this month, went out of the Champions League to AC Milan with a whimper before throwing away victory at Southampton.

After that draw, which left Tottenham only two points above Newcastle United having played two games more, Conte accused his players of being selfish, lacking team spirit and even appeared to aim a shot at the club's hierarchy. "Tottenham's story is this -- 20 years there is this owner (Levy) and they never won anything. Why?" Conte said. "The fault is only for the club, or for every manager that stays here. I have seen the managers that Tottenham had on the bench.

"It is time to change this situation if Tottenham want to change. If they want to continue this way, they can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change."

Conte, who managed Juventus and Inter Milan to Serie A titles and Chelsea to the Premier League title, was out of contract in June and his demeanour has suggested he had little stomach to extend his stay.