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Antonio Conte’s toxic side puts both his Tottenham job and superstar status at risk – John Cross


Landing a world-class coach in Antonio Conte was a coup for Spurs, but the Italian’s latest outburst shows a manager who is becoming increasingly difficult to manage

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Conte thrilled to meet Tottenham journalists in person

Antonio Conte is the superstar manager who is becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

His latest outburst appeared to cast major doubt over his future as Tottenham boss following the defeat at Burnley, which put a major dent in their top four hopes.

Conte’s overriding intention was to challenge the players and make a rallying cry to try and shake up the dressing room in his own unique explosive fashion.

But there was also a clear message to the Tottenham hierarchy about “frustrations” with the squad, and that probably then goes into recruitment and the club’s limitations.

Conte claimed after Burnley that he would not want to pick up his wages unless he felt he was earning them.

“I have to speak with the club to talk and find the right solution because, I repeat, it’s not right to continue this way,” Conte added to set the alarm bells ringing.

While the club believe there is no imminent or immediate threat of Conte leaving, the underlying message is clear… his time at Tottenham is following a familiar path.

Boom-and-bust, destruction, fall outs and, ultimately, a relatively short stay. He only signed for 18 months and, at this rate, they will be lucky to get that long. But who can tell him to stop?

Last week, Conte hinted the club had told him to stop giving interviews in Italy, but who can stop him from speaking out in England? Every time he speaks at the moment, it is headline gold.

And there comes a point where top clubs will fear that Conte is a brilliant manager and hugely successful coach, but his toxic side make it difficult to plan long-term.

Conte masterminded a sensational victory at Manchester City last Saturday just days after letting rip at Tottenham’s January transfer dealings and how his squad had been left “weakened.”

Have Your Say! How long will Antonio Conte last at Spurs? Join the debate here.

On the back of that, Conte was charm personified, engaging and entertaining at his in-person press conference ahead of the Burnley game and you really thought the mood had changed.

And then Tottenham lose at Burnley, all bets are suddenly off again and whatever the intention of his post-match messaging, Conte has made himself the story again.

There has been surprise at Tottenham about some of his interviews; surprise and even a touch of frustration because ultimately Conte knew what he was getting into.

Conte’s past success at Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan makes him one of the hottest coaches in the world and the Tottenham fans have understandably taken to him.

They chant his name and have put him on a pedestal; after so much frustration they want the club – and in particular chairman Daniel Levy – to back the manager and give him the platform to succeed.

Conte is a winner, he knows how to build teams but it feels like he is putting himself on a collision course with the club hierarchy – and if they let him leave then the fall-out will be huge.







Antonio Conte used a tried-and-tested formula against Pep Guardiola’s Man City
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Image:

Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

The Tottenham fans see this as a great opportunity to end their long wait for a trophy – their last silverware was the League Cup in 2008 – because Conte is a world-class coach and a remarkable coup.

But equally, the club must feel that there cannot be a meltdown or explosion after every single game and it will begin to lose its effect after a while.

This has always been Conte’s way: combative, ready to take on the world to get his way, and if everyone is not on board then he will not hang around.

In the past, Conte has had no shortage of offers. But there must come a point when even the biggest clubs will be concerned that, while he can provide success, he almost always brings a storm.

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