Ex-Chelsea and Tottenham manager Antonio Conte new job confirmed 16 months after brutal sacking

Antonio Conte during his time as Tottenham Hotspur manager.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has returned to football management for the first time in 14 months. The 54-year-old has been away from the dugout since Spurs sacked him after 16 months in charge last March.

Conte has been appointed as the new Napoli head coach, the first role in his native Italy since leading Inter Milan to their first time in 11 years in 2021. The Italian will be tasked with patching up the wounded club, who endured a torrid defence of the Scudetto as they etched themselves in history after suffering the worst performance in defence of the Italian crown.

Luciano Spalletti departed on a high in Naples after ending their wait for top-flight success but his replacement, Rudi Garcia, lasted a mere four months before Walter Mazzarri replaced him with the club in fourth place. They would eventually topple to a mid-table finish.

Conte faces the risk of losing star players Victor Osimhen and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia who are reportedly subject to interest from Premier League and clubs around Europe. His latest Premier League dismissal came a week after his explosive post-match rant following their 3-3 draw away at Southampton after the North London club let a two-goal cushion slip in the final 15 minutes.

The Italian became the 12th sacking during Daniel Levy's 20 years with Spurs as he failed to replicate the success he managed at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea. In two years, Conte led the Blues to Premier League and FA Cup success with a 65 percent win success rate but was dismissed after they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

"Football is passion," said Conte in a social media post after his sacking by Spurs. "I would like to deeply thank everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion and my intense way of living football as a coach.

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"A special thought to the Fans who always showed me support and appreciation, it’s been unforgettable to hear them singing my name. Our journey together has ended, I wish you all the best for the future - Antonio."

The draw in March 2023 ended a spell of four consecutive defeats but they remained in the Champions League positions as Levy was tasked with dealing with the fallout and ensuring that the club secured elite European football. However, the slump continued as interim manager Cristian Stellini was sacked and replaced by Ryan Mason for the closing stages of the campaign with Spurs eventually finishing eighth.

On Wednesday, Napoli confirmed the appointment with Conte signing a three-year deal. President Aurelio De Laurentiis said: "I am very proud that the new coach of Napoli is Antonio Conte.

"Antonio is a top coach, a leader, with whom I am sure that the necessary refoundation can begin after the conclusion of the cycle that led us to win the scudetto last year after many seasons at the top of Italian football. Today an important new chapter in the history of Napoli opens."