Head coach Antonio Conte leaves Tottenham by mutual consent
Tottenham and Antonio Conte have parted ways after only 16 months.
A decision was made after the 53-year-old’s extraordinary post-match rant following Spurs’ 3-3 draw at Southampton last Saturday.
Conte, who had seen his side exit the FA Cup and Champions League in quick succession, watched Tottenham concede twice in the final 13 minutes on the south coast to lose ground in the top-four race.
After a fifth away match without a victory, Conte launched a furious tirade against his own “selfish players” and shut down uncertainty over his future as “excuses” for a squad who have failed to end the club’s trophy drought that dates back to 2008.
The Italian’s contract was set to expire in the summer and he had remained coy over the prospect of extending his stay in London all season, but fourth-placed Spurs have now cut their losses with the former Chelsea boss.
Cristian Stellini, previously Conte’s assistant, will take charge of Tottenham’s final 10 matches of the season.
“We can announce that head coach Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual agreement,” a club statement read, after the 11th managerial departure in the Premier League this season.
“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.
“Cristian Stellini will take the team as acting head coach for the remainder of the season, along with Ryan Mason as assistant head coach.”
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy added: “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.”
Conte’s arrival at Tottenham at the end of 2021 was meant to usher in a new trophy-laden era for the club given his past success at Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
After a rollercoaster opening few months, in which Conte threatened to quit following a 1-0 defeat at Burnley last February, he guided Spurs to an impressive top-four finish by beating rivals Arsenal to Champions League qualification on the final day.
A flurry of transfer activity in July, after smart January business to recruit Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski, heightened expectations in N17 and Tottenham won five of their opening seven Premier League fixtures.
Defeat at Arsenal on October 1 sparked a difficult period, though, with Gian Piero Ventrone, Conte’s friend for three decades and the club’s fitness coach, dying at the age of 61 before later in the month losses to Manchester United and Newcastle followed.
A string of poor first-half displays blighted Spurs before the unprecedented mid-season break in November but an impressive turnaround in Marseille saw them progress into the Champions League last-16 prior to the World Cup.
Uncertainty over Conte’s long-term future remained after the Premier League resumed and so did Tottenham’s inconsistency with back-to-back defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City casting further doubt over how long the serial-winner wanted to stick around battling for fourth position.
More trouble would follow in February with Conte, after two more close friends in Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli died over the winter period, required to have his gallbladder removed.
It saw the former Inter Milan boss miss five matches across two spells after doctors ordered him to rest again having initially rushed his recovery back to the touchline.
Conte’s second return coincided with the Champions League last-16 second leg tie with AC Milan but he failed to provide the inspiration to overturn a 1-0 deficit and Spurs produced a limp display to exit after a dull stalemate.
It occurred seven days after a shock FA Cup reverse to Sheffield United, where Harry Kane was among several key players rested, and large sections of the fanbase had now reached breaking point.
A home 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest threatened to arrest the slump and appeared set to give Conte the chance to see out the campaign, but his antics following the dramatic draw at Southampton prompted action by chairman Levy and the board.
Conte departs after winning 41 of his 76 matches in charge of Tottenham, ending his spell with a 53.94 win percentage.