Tottenham Hotspur’s recent Champions League exit may have been disappointing, but it was just the latest in a series of underwhelming performances by the North London club under the stewardship of head coach Antonio Conte. Despite being considered favourites for their Last 16 clash against AC Milan, Spurs were held to a goalless draw at home, resulting in their elimination from the competition.
Conte’s apathetic post-match interview with Amazon Prime, in which he spoke about the possibility of being sacked before the end of the season, gave fans little hope that the Italian coach remained motivated to turn things around. And with his Spurs contract due to expire on June 30, it appears Conte may be simply biding his time until he can walk away from a club where he has struggled to make an impact.
A look at Conte’s record in the Champions League reveals a manager whose ability to win knock-out games in the competition has been poor throughout his career. Of the six seasons in which he has managed a team in the Champions League, only one – the 2012/13 campaign with Juventus – resulted in a quarter-final appearance. He has failed to win a single knock-out game in the competition since then.
This poor Champions League record is compounded by a tricky spell in the Premier League over the past two seasons, which has seen Spurs struggle for consistency under Conte. While his Premier League record is not bad – 1.87 points per game – it falls to 1.77 when other competitions such as the FA Cup and League Cup are taken into account. It is also far below the standard set by Conte’s predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino, who averaged 1.84 points per game in all competitions and took Tottenham to a Champions League final.
Conte’s underwhelming record at Spurs will be a concern for fans, who are likely to see the end of an era when the Italian coach leaves the club this summer. While he may have achieved success at other clubs, his lack of impact on the North London side means that the future remains uncertain for Spurs. The club will need to find a new coach who can help them regain their place among the Premier League’s elite and ensure that they are once again a force to be reckoned with in European competition.