Tottenham Hotspur: Let’s be honest Nuno was never going to work at Spurs

After ten Premier League matches, 16 goals conceded and five losses there was only one outcome of Saturday’s embarrassing defeat to Manchester United, Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking.

Four months ago, Nuno inherited a Tottenham squad with a wealth of issues that would see him lose the faith of the players, squad and lastly the fans to make him one of the club’s shortest reigning managers in the Premier League era.

What went wrong over this period can not be nailed down to one or two issues, it is more of a culmination of a plethora issues that all came to a head in a short period of time.

Nuno is a fantastic coach, proving himself at Wolves predominantly, but from day one it was known he was never the right fit for the job at Tottenham.

Daniel Levy, the chairman, posted a public statement promising “free-flowing” and “attacking” football in the summer that would revitalise the Tottenham DNA that had faded during the tenure of Jose Mourinho.

In doing so, a formulated list was created of ideal candidates to replace Mourinho in which Nuno was never on.

After struggling to secure the targets listed by Levy, Fabio Paratici was recruited from Juventus to become the clubs sporting director and take charge of the search for a manager and eye up young talent across Europe.

This is when Nuno came into the frame as Paratici opted for a more defensive style of coaching, but even then he was not top of the list.

It was only after the failed pursuits of Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso the Tottenham board settled for Nuno where they only gave him a two-year contract for a job that could take far longer than that.

Before Nuno could even get going he had to deal with the elongated transfer saga of Harry Kane with reports suggesting the Euro 2020 finalist was skipping training.

On top of this, he was asked to employ a more attacking style of football, an approach of play he isn’t renowned for, displaying the lack of direction and philosophy at the club which shined through on the performances.

Attempting this without the club’s star man being dedicated to the project made Nuno’s job even more problematic.

As a result it seemed the squad lacked a sense of unity with different ideas on how Spurs should progress forward – Free flowing or defensive?

The squad itself was never compact and strong, with players from the Mourinho and Pochettino era still hanging about.

Whilst Nuno didn’t really get the time to sign the players to implement his demands on the pitch best, the squad was of better quality to be getting more results than it was.

Ranking 18th for goals scored (9) and 19th for shots (103) and chances created (71) it was clear that Nuno was seriously struggling to get even half the best out of his players.

With the likes of Harry Kane, Heung Min Son, Tanguy Ndombele and Lucas Moura, some of the most talented forwards in the league, it was becoming embarrassing that Spurs were awfully incompetent in front of goal.

All of this whilst simultaneously carrying one of the weakest defences in the league Nuno’s sacking was becoming more of a question of when rather than if.

Whilst the common denominator is the players under the past three managers, Nuno was getting so little out of them that it seemed not even the players possessed the faith in him to take them forward.

Antonio Conte has inherited the same squad and the authoritarian style of leadership seems to be the exactly what Spurs needed back in the summer as when the Italian walks in the room there should be immediate respect.

This trait simply wasn’t carried by Nuno as it always seemed he was here to win the players and fans over at a time when they needed to be carried.

Conte seems to be the answer to Spurs problems, consistently bringing attacking prowess and defensive stability to his previous sides, for example in six of Conte’s last seven seasons as manager, his team has ranked among the top three scorers.

Defensively too, Conte could be the solution to a shaky Spurs defence that has been weak since Pochettino left the club, as the former Chelsea manager only conceded 35 in 38 games with Inter Milan last year.

Spurs also lacked presence on the pitch under Nuno, failing to show urgency and lazily creating gaps for opposition to penetrate, ranking 20th for distance covered per game (99km), a stat Conte should alleviate when he transformed Chelsea from 17th to third in the same metric.

The anthesis to Nuno, Conte should transform the approach, application and output of the Tottenham team.

One of the harshest disciplinarians in the game, Conte should be the man to clean up the Tottenham team and so the upcoming transfer window’s for the Lilywhites will be interesting.

If Levy can fulfil the demands of Conte who will undoubtedly hold the chairman to account with regards to the investment, Spurs could be finally taking a step in the right direction after falling sideways since the departure of Pochettino.

But If Spurs do not succeed under Conte after failing with Mourinho, it begs the question, who will bring Tottenham success?




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