Antonio Conte’s well-advertised departure from Tottenham was finally confirmed on Sunday night, the club announcing it was by “mutual agreement” after a week of behind-the-scenes turbulence and stony public silence.
Conte’s long-time assistant, Cristian Stellini, will be acting head coach for the remainder of the season, with Ryan Mason as his assistant. The focus will turn towards the identity of the next permanent manager, with Julian Nagelsmann – sacked by Bayern Munich on Friday – on the club’s wish-list.
Spurs had wanted Nagelsmann in 2021 after they dismissed José Mourinho but he was set on going to Bayern. The club are interested in a host of managers including Luis Enrique, Roberto De Zerbi, Rúben Amorim and Vincent Kompany. Mauricio Pochettino, the last manager to complete a full season at Spurs – in 2018-19 – would be a popular choice among fans but it is unclear if he or the club would want the reunion.
Conte tore into his players after the 3-3 draw at Southampton on the Saturday before last, labelling them “selfish” and blaming them for the club’s trophy drought. He had been widely expected to leave when his contract expired at the end of the season. But after the outburst, it was understood that most of the players were happy for him to leave right away – a fact not lost on the chairman, Daniel Levy.
Spurs released a statement on their website at 10.20pm to announce Conte’s departure, “thank him for his contribution and wish him well for the future.” Levy urged everyone to “pull together” over the remaining 10 league games in the fight for a Champions League finish. Spurs are fourth, two points ahead of Newcastle, who have two matches in hand.