EPL

Spurs sack Conte with Stellini to take charge

By Sports Desk March 26, 2023

Antonio Conte has left Tottenham by mutual consent, a week on from criticising the club and players in a remarkable outburst, with assistant Cristian Stellini to take charge until the end of the season.

Conte hit out after Spurs blew a two-goal lead in a 3-3 draw away to rock-bottom Southampton last Saturday, calling his players "selfish" and questioning Tottenham's lack of success during Daniel Levy's time as chairman,

He was reportedly asked by Levy and club chiefs to clarify those comments, apparently insisting his "20 years and they never won something" comment was aimed at the players, rather than his bosses.

But seemingly Conte's position had become untenable, with Spurs confirming the Italian's departure on Sunday, eight days on from his public tirade.

"We can announce that head coach Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual agreement," a Spurs statement read. 

"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."

Conte already looked likely to leave Spurs in June when his contract was set to expire.

Media reports earlier this month suggested neither Conte nor Spurs wanted to extend the arrangement.

Fans had long been frustrated by the brand of football introduced by the former Chelsea boss, and recent results only made the atmosphere more toxic.

While Conte was absent after having gallbladder surgery, Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship side Sheffield United on March 1, and a week later they were eliminated from the Champions League after a limp 0-0 draw at home to Milan, who had beaten them 1-0 in San Siro.

Although Spurs defeated Nottingham Forest 3-1 on March 11 to earn some momentary respite, their late collapse at St Mary's – followed by Conte's extraordinary rant – proved the final straw.

Conte departs with Spurs still firmly immersed in the race for Champions League qualification, sitting fourth in the Premier League.

However, Liverpool and Newcastle United – seven and two points behind respectively – have two games in hand.

Former Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino is among those linked with succeeding Conte, while Luis Enrique, Marco Silva and Julian Nagelsmann – officially sacked by Bayern Munich on Saturday – are also said to be contenders.

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