For the first time since he came to Tottenham in December 2021, Antonio Conte already sees the exit door. The Italian, after the elimination in the Champions League, admitted that he can leave at the end of the season, and even before, if the English club decided to fire him. So, the figure of Mauricio Pochettino begins to appear in North London.
“I have a contract with Tottenham. At the end of the season we will speak with the club. My contract ends in June and we’ll see, they might even fire me sooner. Maybe your expectations were too high and now you are disappointed? As a coach you try to increase the level and this year it is costing us a lot,” said the Italian after Milan eliminated them in the round of 16 of the Champions League.
This is Conte’s fifth elimination in the Champions League, where he only got through to the quarterfinals once, with Juventus in 2013. With this failure, Tottenham will add 16 years without winning a title; the last was the League Cup in 2008. With no prospect of the situation improving, players like Harry Kane, the club’s top scorer, may decide to leaveto seek the glory that the club is denied campaign after campaign.
The departure of Conte, long suspected for the team’s lack of progress, would not come as a surprise given the Italian’s track record. In his coaching career, which began at Arezzo in 2006, he only once spent more than three years with a team. He was with Juve between 2011 and 2014, when he won three Scudettos. In Bari, Atalanta and Siena he only spent one year in each, while in the Italian team he spent two years, in Chelsea two seasons and in Inter Milan another two.
His fuse is short, and the situation is even more complicated in London, where he lives alone, with his wife and daughter in Italy. This recently meant that, after the gallbladder operation he underwent, he had to travel there to rest. Nor did the recent death of two friends help Conte’s state of mind, that of his assistant Gian Piero Ventrone in October and that of Gianluca Vialli in January.
If Conte’s departure is consummated, Pochettino, who is unemployed after leaving Paris Saint Germain, is the man preferred by a large part of the squadas reported by the chain sky sports. The Argentine knows the house well, he spent five years of constant progress and was the one who came closest to winning a trophy, with a Champions League final and a Premier League runner-up. Since Pochettino, only José Mourinho has led Tottenham to a (League Cup) final, but he was sacked before he could play in it.
His relationship with key players on the team, such as Kane or the South Korean Son, can be a strong argument to support his candidacysince the short-term future of the club happens because these players do not decide to pack their bags and go to another destination where winning trophies is not a utopia that has been going on for 16 years.