Tottenham Hotspur supporters are still reeling with giddiness after the whirlwind of the past two days. Since Saturday’s dispiriting 3-0 home loss to Manchester United, Tottenham have sacked Nuno Espirito Santo and appointed Antonio Conte, considered one of the best and most successful managers in modern football.
It still doesn’t feel real. Nearly three years removed from playing in the Champions League final, chairman Daniel Levy has tried to attract a hugely impressive manager as a symbol of how far Spurs have come over the past decade. We all know that the first attempt — Jose Mourinho — did not go according to plan, but Levy has finally hooked his whale in Conte.
In his first interview as Tottenham manager, posted on Spurs’ social media feeds, Conte outlined his philosophy of coaching, his pleasure at starting a new project at Tottenham, and his reason for turning the club down this past summer when first approached.
“To be Tottenham manager, it’s a great pleasure, it’s a great honor. Now for sure I want to repay this trust.
“My coaching philosophy is very simple: to play good football and attractive football for our fans with passion, to have a stable team, not up and down.
“I think the fans deserve to have a competitive team with a will to fight. I will do everything to deserve their support.”
Many rumors flew regarding the reason why Conte walked away from Tottenham when approached this past summer. His refusal continued a long and sometimes incoherent process that resulted in the eventual appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo in July. Conte was open about his decision, saying that he needed a break after his stint at Inter Milan and just wasn’t ready.
“My past, what I did with previous clubs, is important. I’m proud. For me, the new challenge is Tottenham. I want it to become an important part of my career as a manager.
“Honestly there was a call from Tottenham in the summer but I was very clear. I had just finished with Inter Milan, two important, very tough seasons. Honestly it wasn’t the right time to start again another experience. I preferred to wait and enjoy the time with my family. Also because I think emotionally I was still with the last experience with Inter.”
Spurs posted photos yesterday of Conte “observing” training (he is not yet allowed to formally work with the team until his work permit is sorted with the UK home office), but you can tell from this interview that he is motivated and excited to start getting to know his new players.
“Tottenham is an important club in England and around the world. The stadium and training ground are wonderful. The club and Daniel Levy wanted me strongly. This is a good opportunity, an honour to accept and become the manager.
“I have seen on Tuesday the training ground and I want to start work. I arrive at a top club. These situations push you and increase the desire to do something important for the fans of this club.”
Conte’s first challenge will be a Europa Conference League home match against Vitesse, a team that beat Spurs 1-0 in Arnheim just a week ago. The stadium will be packed with Spurs fans welcoming their new manager and it promises to be an incredible experience.