EPL

Hurting Conte pays tribute to Ventrone as Spurs boss says death of fitness guru 'hit me a lot'

By Sports Desk October 08, 2022

Antonio Conte will attend the funeral of Gian Piero Ventrone on Sunday after the Tottenham boss oversaw an emotional Premier League win at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spurs fitness coach Ventrone died on Thursday, reportedly after being diagnosed with leukaemia, and Conte said his fellow Italian had asked just days ago if he could be allowed to miss work due to illness.

After Harry Kane's goal earned a 1-0 win for Spurs, who sit third in the table, Conte spoke about the trauma that all at Tottenham have felt over the loss of Ventrone.

It was the first time Conte had opened up in public about Ventrone, having cancelled his regular pre-match press conference on Thursday.

He said it had been "really, really difficult for us to focus on the game", saying the experience of recent days had been "incredible".

Conte had not been expecting Ventrone's death, and its impact on the former Juventus and Italy coach has been profound.

He said he was aware Ventrone's health was "really problematic" early in the week.

"But no one could have expected this situation because no one knew something about this illness," Conte said. "It was an illness but under control and then it is very difficult because the situation hit me a lot under the emotional aspect.

"When it happens, it is very difficult to cover your feeling with the players and with the people that work in Tottenham.

"At the same time, I have seen a lot of solidarity. The players were really devastated by the pain and in the whole Tottenham environment the feeling was really bad because in only 10 months I think Gian Piero got through the heart of everybody."

Ventrone was a man Conte wanted on his Spurs staff, confident he would make his players stronger and fitter, with the pair having known each other for 30 years.

He described Ventrone as "a scientist". Conte spoke to Ventrone on the Thursday prior to his death, when illness was taking a toll. Ventrone said he was experiencing "a bit of a fever" and felt he could not attend training, according to Conte, but at the same time he was reluctant to be absent.

Conte said Ventrone then spoke to him about his health situation, and in turn was told not to worry about his Tottenham duties but to take care of himself.

Manager Conte said Spurs' players were "really devastated" by news of Ventrone's death, which came at the age of 62. Many have paid fond tributes to the trainer.

"Sometimes life puts you in difficult situations, but we have to cope in the best possible way to overcome this situation," Conte said in an interview posted by Tottenham. "But we'll never forget Gian Piero. Gian Piero will live in my heart and my head."

Conte explained a Tottenham delegation, which he is expected to lead along with chairman Daniel Levy, will head to Naples for the funeral.

"I want to tell his son and daughter that they need to be strong because Gian Piero was strong, a strong character," Conte said.

"He doesn't want to see us unhappy. It's difficult to make him happy because we are really devastated by the pain."

Related items

  • Pickford becomes England's record appearance maker at major tournaments Pickford becomes England's record appearance maker at major tournaments

    Jordan Pickford will become England's leading appearance maker at major international tournaments against Denmark at Euro 2024. 

    The Everton goalkeeper will make his 21st appearance for the Three Lions at a major international competition in Frankfurt, surpassing Peter Shilton's record. 

    Pickford made his debut for his country in 2017 in a draw with Germany at Wembley, and was included in Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

    The 30-year-old has since established himself as England's number one, and has kept 10 clean sheets for his nation at major tournaments, the latest of which coming last Sunday against Serbia. 

    Pickford enjoyed an excellent start to his Euro 2024, completing 25 of his 41 passes against Serbia with a pass accuracy of 61 per cent. 

     

  • Slovenia 1-1 Serbia: Jovic denies Dragons historic win with final kick Slovenia 1-1 Serbia: Jovic denies Dragons historic win with final kick

    Luka Jovic's last-second header denied Slovenia a first-ever win at the Euros as Serbia snatched a 1-1 draw in Munich on Thursday.

    It looked like the Dragons were going to hold out for a victory after Zan Karnicnik's strike, but Serbia's last push for an equaliser eventually proved fruitful.

    After a bright start, Slovenia came closest to taking the lead when Timi Max Elsnik struck the post with a powerful shot before Benjamin Sesko lifted the rebound over the bar.

    Aleksandar Mitrovic endured a frustrating game, being denied by two big saves from Jan Oblak either side of half-time after the goalkeeper had previously kept out Dusan Vlahovic's glancing header.

    Karnicnik eventually took matters into his own hands, starting his run at right-back before switching it out to Elsnik, continuing his run to scuff a volley past Predrag Rajkovic from close range.

    Mitrovic had the golden chance to equalise for Serbia just moments later, meeting a cross on the half-volley, but the slightest of touches from the Slovenia goalscorer sent his effort against the bar.

    In the dying seconds of the game, Serbia won another corner, and this time, Jovic rose highest inside a crowded six-yard box to thump a header past Oblak for a valuable late equaliser in Group C. 

    Data Debrief: Impact sub Jovic to the rescue

    Jovic came off the bench in the 64th minute and only managed seven touches in the game. He will not care though, as the one that counted got the winner.

    His goal is the latest result-altering goal in a Euros match of all-time (exlcuding extra time), with his equaliser timed at exactly 95 minutes.

    Slovenia have scored six goals at the European Championships, with Karnicnik's strike their fourth against Serbia/Yugoslavia in the competition. Indeed, the Dragons have only ever taken the lead twice in a Euros game, and both times it has been against Serbia/Yugoslavia (also in 2000 in a 3-3 draw).

  • St. Louis City v Colorado Rapids: Carnell desperate for response as winless run persists St. Louis City v Colorado Rapids: Carnell desperate for response as winless run persists

    St. Louis City will be desperate to snap a record six-game winless run in MLS when they host Colorado Rapids at CityPark Stadium on Thursday.

    The Missouri-based side have just three wins from their 17 league matches this term, falling down to 11th in the Western Conference standings.

    Bradley Carnell's men have not triumphed in MLS action since a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire in the middle of May, and were defeated 2-0 by FC Dallas last time out.

    St. Louis coach Carnell referenced injury struggles, however, as his side continue to battle through a troubling period.

    "Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to look at the roster and see where we are. We're not the first team to struggle with this.

    "Now we get challenged and now get to prove what we are as a group, team, organisation and unit – sticking together.

    "We have a plethora of young players who are performing [for our academy] and we will keep some of those guys with us through the week."

    The Rapids have enjoyed a better season, sitting sixth in the West table after returning to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

    That ended a four-game winless streak for Colorado, who secured a much-needed victory after a rocketed finish from Cole Bassett before Rafael Navarro netted his 10th goal of the season.

    The next challenge for the Rapids is to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since April, though they have lost three straight on the road.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    St. Louis City – Jared Stroud

    Jared Stroud was involved in a goal in both matches (one goal, one assist) against the Rapids last season.

    The St. Louis man has eight assists to his name in MLS this season, too, and will hope to deliver once more when Colorado come to town.

    Colorado Rapids – Djordje Mihailovic

    Djordje Mihailovic has scored in each of the Rapids' last three away matches.

    He is the first Rapids player to score in three straight away from home in a single regular season since Shkelzen Gashi scored in five straight on the road from June-October 2016.

    MATCH PREDICTION – ST. LOUIS CITY WIN

    St. Louis are the heavy favourites for victory in this encounter, considering their record against the Rapids.

    Carnell's side collected four points from their two matches against Colorado last season, including a 2-0 win at home last July.

    Colorado have lost their last three road matches, conceding 10 goals in those games, and that run of form comes as no surprise.

    Indeed, the Rapids have lost 15 of their last 21 away from home in all competitions (W3 D3), dating back to last May.

    Yet a home win is by no means a foregone conclusion.

    St. Louis are winless in six straight matches (D2 L4) for the first time in club history. They have just three wins so far, tied for the fewest in MLS this season, though all three have come at home.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    St. Louis City win – 48.8%

    Colorado Rapids win – 25.5%

    Draw – 25.7%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.