Tottenham players reportedly expressed doubts about Antonio Conte’s management style when it became clear that the club was in advanced talks with the Italian over replacing Jose Mourinho. Conte was favourite to take the Spurs job until Friday when discussions broke down, writes the Express.
Chairman Daniel Levy has been searching for a permanent head coach since sacking Mourinho in early April.
The Portuguese was dismissed having failed to lift the club back among the Premier League’s elite clubs after they stalled in the latter months of Mauricio Pochettino’s tenure.
Mourinho lasted just 17 months after replacing Pochettino in November 2019.
He guided them to a sixth-placed finish in his first half-season but was seventh in the following campaign by the time he was sacked.
An embarrassing Europa League exit against Dinamo Zagreb compounded a below-par tenure for the former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach.
Former Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason was appointed as interim head coach and maintained a seventh-placed finish.
However, the 29-year-old is not being considered for the job on a permanent basis and will return to his role as head of player development in the club’s academy.
Levy instead appeared to turn to Conte, who resigned as Inter Milan boss after guiding them to a first Serie A title since 2010. However, both parties were too far apart on several issues.
And The Athletic has reported that members of the Tottenham playing squad had reservations over Conte’s style of management.
Individuals had spoken to friends who had previously played under the 51-year-old and were told of his “extreme and demanding methods”.
Some also had suspicions that Conte rarely made the most of the youth systems of his previous clubs.
At Chelsea, Conte received criticism for not turning to a talented pool of academy stars.
Tottenham have the likes of forward Dane Scarlett, midfielder Harvey White and full-back Dennis Curkin coming through and hope to integrate them into the first team.
Addressing supporters ahead of the final home game of the season, a 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa, Levy said that the next manager will play attacking football and use the club’s academy.
“As a club we have been so focused on delivering the stadium and dealing with the impact of the pandemic, that I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA,” Levy told fans.
“We are acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great club and return to playing football with the style for which we are known – free-flowing, attacking and entertaining – whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish from our Academy alongside experienced talent.”