Antonio Conte LEAVES Tottenham by mutual consent
Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte’s departure has finally been confirmed as his turbulent 16 month reign ended.
MailOnline revealed on Tuesday that chairman Daniel Levy was preparing to sack the Italian following his now infamous verbal attack against his own players following the 3-3 draw at Southampton.
And his exit was confirmed just before 10.30pm on Sunday night, though his departure was described as ‘mutual’ in a club statement.
Conte’s No 2 Cristian Stellini will assume the role as acting head coach while Ryan Mason will take on the position as his assistant.
The Italian was due to return to the club’s training ground on Tuesday as players begin returning from international duty.
Antonio Conte has left Tottenham by mutual consent after just 16 months in the role
Cristian Stellini (left) has been put in temporary charge of the club as Spurs begin the search for a fourth manager in just two years. While Ryan Mason will assist Stellini
Antonio Conte’s dismissal comes after his rant at his players following a draw at Southampton
But the prospect of a potentially fraught reunion with his players following last weekend’s public rant has now been avoided.
The Italian laid into his players during a series of explosive post-match interviews after the Southampton game, in which he questioned their desire and attitude, with huge concerns having been raised at board level over how the rant affected the squad’s morale.
‘They’re used to it here,’ fumed Conte after a 3-3 draw at St Mary’s. ‘They don’t play for something important. They don’t want to play under pressure. They don’t want to play under stress. It is easy in this way. Tottenham’s story is this.
‘I said I wanted to see the fire and I have not seen it. I said that I want to see the fire in their eyes, in their hearts. I want to see the right spirit. Not only in the training session, but on the pitch because it is here you make the difference.
‘Until now, I try to hide the situation but there are 10 games to go and some people think we can fight. Fight for what? With this spirit, this attitude, this commitment? What? For seventh, eighth, 10th place?’.
The players were furious with the outburst. Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg called on Conte to elaborate after he accused the players of being unprofessional.
‘I understand that if you want to be successful as a team, you need 11 men who are committed to a project and a culture. But I think he has to elaborate on how he feels before you as a player can start measuring and weighing,’ the Dane said.
Spurs threw away a two-goal lead in the final 13 minutes to draw 3-3 on Saturday afternoon
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has now axed Conte as he looks for a fourth manager in two years
Conte spent the international break back in his native Italy amid expectation that he would lose his job.
However, returning home was not out of character for the former Chelsea boss who often heads to Italy when a gap appears in the team’s training schedule.
The fact he was scheduled back at the club’s Enfield HQ on this week left Conte with a tough decision over whether to return to work knowing he was effectively on borrowed time.
Tottenham have been locked in talks over Conte’s compensation package since the mid-part of last week, and sources on Sunday were indicating that complexities over those discussions were the reason behind the delay in the former Chelsea boss’s departure.
NEXT SPURS MANAGER
Julian Nagelsmann – 10/11
Ryan Mason – 15/8
Mauricio Pochettino – 10/3
Oliver Glasner – 11/1
Sergio Conceicao – 11/1
Thomas Tuchel – 11/1
Luis Enrique – 16/1
Roberto De Zerbi – 20/1
Ange Postecoglou – 22/1
Thomas Frank – 22/1
Steve Cooper – 25/1
Odds from Paddy Power
The Italian had just three months left on his current deal, which is worth £15million a year – meaning Conte is due in the region of £4million in compensation, excluding the money owed to his staff.
Spurs held an option to extend Conte’s deal by an extra 12 months, however it is understood there is no obligation for Spurs to compensate their current head coach for that extension clause.
Qualifying for next season’s Champions League is the club’s only target and Levy, originally, did not want to make a decision that might detrimentally impact their chances of a top four finish.
But there are palpable concerns behind the scenes now that Conte’s presence is negatively affecting morale amongst the squad, an issue that the board are aware of.
After the recent feeble Champions League exit to AC Milan, the feeling transmitting from well-placed sources was that the club was committed to continuing with Conte until the end of the season.
However, the sense emanating since his explosive blast at St Mary’s has been that Conte would leave before the summer as Levy looks to preserve the team’s top four hopes.
Indeed, in confirming Conte’s exit, chairman Levy said: ‘We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place. We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our Club and amazing, loyal supporters.’
Work on appointing Conte’s long-term successor has been underway for a number of weeks given the expectation that the Italian would leave the club at the end of the season regardless of his team finishing the campaign.
Julian Nagelsmann, who left Bayern Munich last week, is among the managers Spurs want to talk about the vacancy.
A return to the club for Mauricio Pochettino would excite a large section of the fanbase given his previous successes with Tottenham.
However, there is known to be some opposition to his return, although Levy remains close to the Argentine.
Among the other options are Luis Enrique, Roberto de Zerbi, Marco Silva, Steve Cooper, Thomas Frank, Sergio Conceicao, Oliver Glasner and Ange Postecoglou.
Thomas Tuchel was also a contender but he has replaced Nagelsmann at Bayern Munich instead.
Jose Mourinho (left) and Nuno Espirito Santo were dismissed back in 2021 after ill-fated spells
Conte’s attempt at a first full season at the club was disrupted by personal tragedy as well as ill health.
A key member of his backroom staff in fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone sadly passed away in October.
This was followed by the passing of friend and former Lazio defender Sinisa Mihajlovic in December while former Juventus and Italy team-mate Gianluca Vialli also died a month later.
Conte’s health then soon took a turn for the worse, with gallbladder surgery in February keeping him off the Tottenham touchline for six of the following seven games.
But since returning, he was heavily criticized for an ultra defensive set-up as Spurs drew 0-0 with AC Milan to go out 1-0 on aggregate in the Champions League last-16.
Despite a 3–1 win over Nottingham Forest in their next outing, frustration among fans boiled over with the dropped points at St Mary’s.
Nevertheless, fans have been left furious with the team’s largely poor performances and weak exits from all the cup competitions – including an FA Cup fifth round defeat at Championship side Sheffield United and from the Champions League at the hands of AC Milan.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg accepts that his manager is unsatisfied but asked him to elaborate on his comments.