Tributes to Nuno Espiríto Santo had been few and much between this week till Antonio Conte discovered a becoming method to mark his predecessor’s reign. Within the Italian’s first Premier League match in cost of Tottenham, simply as within the Portuguese’s final, Spurs had no pictures on track. Maybe Nuno nodded on approvingly from afar.
The paradox is that 0-0 felt the definitive Nuno scoreline, however his Tottenham by no means secured a stalemate in his ill-fated reign. As an alternative, after the breathless pleasure of Conte’s bow towards Vitesse got here a recreation the place, though Giovani Lo Celso struck the publish, the one efforts on track got here from Everton’s Ben Godfrey and Tom Davies. Suffice to say it was not fairly what Conte deliberate.
It ranked as an underwhelming return to the division he gained in catalytic style in 2017. Whereas Nuno’s debut was the falsest of false dawns, with victory over Manchester Metropolis, Conte joins Andre Villas-Boas, the one different one of Spurs’ final eight managers to fail to win on his top-flight bow. It’ll take a little bit longer to make a distinction on the pitch. Off it, there’s already a shift in attitudes. Dissent and silence have been exchanged for a soundtrack borrowed from Stamford Bridge.
A well-known, ominous chant returned about 50 minutes earlier than Conte’s Premier League comeback started. He was making the journey throughout the pitch to the short-term huts nonetheless deployed as dressing rooms at Goodison Park when the early arrivals started serenading him. “Antonio, Antonio,” is a mantra with the unimaginative wording appropriated from Chelsea, however no elaboration is required. It’s a assertion of pleasure, a warning, nearly a battle cry for this most combative of coaches.
Rewind a pair of years and Daniel Levy hailed José Mourinho – the second of 4 managers Tottenham have given a contract that was because of expire in 2023 – as one of the 2 greatest on the planet. It felt a doubtful assertion then, and nonetheless extra so on a day when Mourinho’s Roma misplaced to Venezia, however it’s safer to say they’ve one of the highest half-dozen now. Tottenham might savour the sense they nonetheless have an attract. They’ve an incongruous mixture of Galactico supervisor and mediocre staff however they’ll boast once more.
The travelling followers brandished the tricolored flag of Italy; presumably freshly purchased, fairly than objects already acquired to have fun the back-up goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini. Conte had responded to the primary sight of them. He deviated from his path to pose for pictures; maybe a number of of these congregating round him had by no means bothered to get a selfie with Nuno. Perhaps they’ve been deleted from telephones, attempting to erase any proof of a forgettable period; if, certainly, the shortest managerial tenure in Tottenham’s historical past qualifies as an period.
However the rapturous reception afforded to Conte was a mirrored image of who he’s and who he isn’t. In any stroll of life, a brief lower to a welcome is to switch the unpopular or the unsuitable. The newcomer has carried out that, however there are few extra dramatic upgrades than Nuno to Conte. The Portuguese was undesirable and unlamented, his successor feted and hailed.
Nuno’s title was by no means sung. Or not as any sort of praise, anyway; the bored Tottenham trustworthy had chorused “Nuno, make a sub” throughout the drabness of their Carabao Cup win at Burnley. It might take a little bit longer to get his soccer out of their techniques, nonetheless. It felt as if they’d forgotten learn how to create. There was graft, however inadequate craft. Even the membership’s slogan confirmed Nuno was miscast. To dare is to do? For Nuno, to uninteresting was to do. However Conte couldn’t impact an early transition into entertainers.
In contrast to Tottenham, at least he makes for compelling viewing. He all the time did, even with out the duty of attempting to Contefy a staff in one thing of an identification disaster since Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking. Certainly, the second half was barely 30 seconds previous when he and Eric Dier had a dialog that consisted of long-range pointing.
He’s each micro-manager and madman. In comparison with him, even the famously meticulous Rafael Benítez seemed laid-back on the touchline as Conte couldn’t comprise his frustration, the animated gestures of an offended perfectionist forming a distinction with Nuno’s beard-stroking passivity. Conte strayed far out of his technical order, eternally desperate to get nearer to his fees to dispense orders.
A supervisor who calls for positional self-discipline from his gamers confirmed valuable little himself. The fourth official, Anthony Taylor, gave up on the thankless activity of attempting to summon him again. Underneath Nuno, Tottenham ran the least within the Premier League. If Conte’s private mileage is included, they could cowl essentially the most distance underneath his substitute. The Italian has introduced three health coaches to Tottenham; maybe one of them is employed merely to maintain the supervisor in form.
His aspect confirmed vitality. There have been hints of intent. Briefly, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was the furthest participant ahead, looking for to succeed in Harry Kane’s go. There have been possibilities for the 2 wing-backs, with Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilón charged with recreating the extraordinary impression Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso had for his Chelsea. Ben Davies, who confirmed an adventurous streak to arrange Spurs’ third purpose towards Vitesse, surged ahead to thrash a shot over the bar. However it ended up as Tottenham’s first goalless draw for 60 video games. Maybe that counts as a right away impression, however in all probability not the one Conte had in thoughts.