Going into this season I had predicted Tottenham Hotspur to finish third this season. Theoretically speaking, that's still possible as the Spurs still have some quality players around the pitch with someone who I easily consider the best striker in the last five years, Harry Kane.
However, I did build a lot of predictions on Antonio Conte's seasonal management and variety of top scorers with him having a long-term vision when it comes to a season overall. I did also build it on Conte's ability to improve the team defensively and reduce the 40 goals conceded last season to 35 or 33, something that hasn't turned out as expected with Spurs having already conceded 40 goals with 10 games left.
Conte has been sacked after another angry rant, the angriest it seems, where no one was safe from criticism. So much so that it seems even people who walked within 20 miles of radiance near Tottenham's stadium were getting blamed. To be fair, not exactly everyone was safe from criticism, there was one except, but more on that later.
Now, when it comes to the details of the Spurs' side of things, @talesfrmthecrypt and @blanchy would easily have me beat as it is their area of expertise with the latter even writing a whole breakdown of Conte's departure. So, I will just skip directly to Conte.
The Conte of it all
Conte is the exception to many things written here. First, he was the exception to his own criticism. It was the world's fault before it was Conte's. Conte was the exception to Spurs' support of managers with 140 million net spent in a single season. No one is saying Conte should be winning the league, but can we see some improvements? Is having the best striker in the league, two of the best wingers, and one of the best strikers last season not enough to improve the team offensively?
Maybe just taking the team one step further than just having one more point this season compared to last season at this would have been enough to say that Conte is at least trying.
Also, what has been Conte "hiding"? Besides expanding his vocabulary, Conte actually hasn't anything new in terms of meaning. Ranting about deals? When hasn't Conte done that this season? Insulting and berating his players? When hasn't Conte done that this season? Djed Spence hasn't even touched the ball before Conte started insulting his quality and abilities.
I get the argument that he was criticising Levy, which by the way is another proof that he hasn't really been hiding anything all along, but is that the right way to treat a youngster excited about playing in the first division? Being insulted and then scapegoated right after?
This idea of just tireless public demeaning hoping it would motivate the players constantly could work for a game or two, a month or two, but at a certain point, it's just mind-numbingly stupid. Imagine someone screaming at you constantly. Yes, at first, they're bound to get a reaction from you, but at a certain point, you will definitely either tell them to fuck off or you'd just stop caring. You can't yell your team into winning titles.
Being a giant Conte
I get that there are a lot of people hearing the truth in Conte's talk about Levy, and I am fine with that. I even agree with a lot of it even with Conte getting the most support. Still, Conte touched on a historical problem with the club. However, facts simply state that he's literally the last person who should be complaining.
Facts also that this has been Conte all along. Okay, for the sake of argument let's say Conte is 100% correct about Levy. How about the time he was speaking about Inter's board every two weeks? What about Chelsea? Okay, now he's brave for speaking out against Tottenham and Levy, but was he just talking about Levy or were his rants mostly directed at the players as well? Are the players really that guilty? Does Conte think all his players have daddy issues and will seek his approval?
What about AC Milan? Conte tactically outplayed AC Milan and once again went on to rant about the players. Seriously? The players? I get that there might be blame on players but can we have self-accountability here? It's all the players and has nothing to do with the fact that Conte has been playing the same tactics for the last 12 years at least.
Is a backline of Simon Kjær, Thiaw, and Kalulu really that hard to crack? Is Alexis Saelemaekers', an attacking winger playing as a wingback, or his replacement, Junior Messias, an attacking midfielder really a quality you can't conquer?
People may have lost sight because of Conte's criticism of Levy, but this has been Conte all along.
Conte took a Chelsea side to win the league in his first season. It's impressive until you remember all the surrounding facts. He was surrounded by struggling teams. Liverpool was barely getting rebuilt under Klopp, Pep was trying to find his way in an ageing Manchester City squad, and Arsenal was Arsenal and the less said about that the better for me. I am not trying to undersell Conte's achievement but there's a reason why Leicester City won the season prior.
Conte was also leading a side that has won the title 2 seasons prior and only got a bad league position because the players were protesting Mourinho. So, it's not a team that was exactly weak. In fact, the players went into the season wanting to prove that it was Mourinho's fault the team didn't perform. Still, one of the first things Conte did after winning the league was text his striker that he was no longer needed without going back to management.
After that, he wanted Lukaku but was beaten by Manchester United and got Morata instead. It took a few bad games from Morata for Conte to just start blasting him and even saying he didn't want him. Morata's arrival at Chelsea was a heart-breaking shocker for him because Real Madrid was his dream club that he fought for and got tricked by the club's president who activated his buyback clause only to sell him after.
Maybe some compassion would have been nice, plus Conte literally created that problem for himself as Diego Costa had already proved that he could play Conte's system and did well in that role. Then Conte wanted Alex Sandro from Juventus, for some unknown reason, and Juventus wanted 65 million for him, which is obscene as not even Manchester City would pay that much for a full-back. So, Chelsea didn't buy him and once again he started insulting Chelsea's board and players.
The same thing happened at Inter as he was blasting a board that was outspending everyone, so much so that the club had to sell the players it bought because they were too expensive. And still, it took Juventus completely crumbling for Inter to win a title after failing first during a season where Conte was blasting players he asked for by name.
As some of you may know, I write a series called "Players' Hell" where I pick a certain player or two and go through their careers and what led to their failures, or at least played a big part in it. Conte was the most reoccurring name among the coaches who hurt a certain player's career.
I could talk forever about all the details of Conte's disgusting history, but it all comes down to one big issue I have with Conte
Antonio Conte is a coward
That's a nice way of putting it, by the way. People want to praise Conte's comments about Levy and the technical management as some kind of heroism but the fact is simple, the coach lambasted everyone just so he could get sacked and walk away with the remainder of his pay without having to work. I know that because that's what he did at Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Juventus before.
He is a coward because he never takes responsibility. He went into Inter Milan's match against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League match with such defeatism stating that there's "nothing we can do about it" during a time when it was perfectly normal to defeat Real Madrid. He finally came last in a group that also included Shakhtar and Monchengladbach. That alone is also funny because Conte's European history is abysmal and he loves pretending like he's been killing it. I am old enough to remember a time when his Juventus side was struggling and losing to Galatasaray.
My admiration for Conte was seizing increasingly throughout this season as I only started focusing on press conferences in recent years so I was never informed of his press work too much. But, honestly, ever since I have been paying more attention to what he says, I have been disgusted with the man. The way he behaves really paints the impression that he's only coaching him because we're begging him to and not because it's the job.
Much like Cristiano and his actions earlier this season, people started justifying Conte's actions this season with personal life issues as Cristiano lost his son during childbirth and Conte lost 3 of his best friends plus had an operation this year. But, what I am simply saying, and this goes to both Conte and Cristiano, is that the bullshit that comes out of their mouths isn't something new. As "explosive" as Conte's latest press conference, if you focus on the meaning of what he said, it's nothing hasn't said before at least ten times during his Spurs tenure and hundreds of times during his career.
It's tiring, and it's disgusting on a humanitarian and a professional level. I really hope Conte never joins an English club again and stays as far away from the teams and games I watch as possible. I am saying this because as long as this post is, it honestly doesn't cover 25% of my problems with Conte which usually I would welcome and turn a post into a series, but I am too disgusted with Conte that I want this to be the last time I talk about him and I will be taking a long show after clicking publish.
As a Gunner, I wish Spurs to win all the remaining ten matches and finish fourth if not third by the end of this season, and I wish that with all my heart because I strongly sympathize with these players and fans for the psychological bullying and mental abuse that has been the Conte era.