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Antonio Conte has broken his silence for the first time since being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur to thank the club fans for their support during his ill-fated 16-month stint in North London.
The fiery Italian coach was axed by Tottenham this week, a little over seven days after Conte’s explosive rant following his former team’s 3-3 draw at relegation-threatened Southampton.
Whispers concerning Conte’s disillusionment at Spurs had become more audible in the lead-up to Tottenham’s tie at St. Mary’s Stadium on March 18th, though the 53-year-old couldn’t contain his frustrations in the post-match press conference after his side threw away a 3-1 lead late on against the Saints.
Conte questioned the club’s and his players’ ambition in a dramatic outburst that ultimately made his position at Tottenham untenable.
Conte thanks Tottenham’s supporters
Speaking for the first time since his dismissal, Conte posted on his personal Instagram account this week, saying:
“I would like to deeply thank everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion and my intense way of living football as a coach. A special thought to the Fans who always showed me support and appreciation, it’s been unforgettable to hear them singing my name.”
Earlier in the week, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy released a statement of his own to coincide with the announcement of Conte’s sacking, which read:
“We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place.
“We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our club and amazing, loyal supporters.”
“Football is passion. I thank everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion.
Special thought to the Fans who always showed me support and appreciation, unforgettable to hear them singing my name.
I wish you all the best for the future”.
⚪️👋🏻 #THFC pic.twitter.com/fwPFZ2vti2
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 27, 2023
Tottenham turn to Stellini
Antonio Conte’s ex-assistant coach, Cristian Stellini, has been installed as Spurs’ caretaker boss until the end of the current campaign alongside Ryan Mason, allowing the club to engage in a rigorous process to find their next permanent boss.
Stellini and Mason will oversee the final ten Premier League fixtures of the season with a remit to secure a top-four finish and Champions League qualification if possible. A place in Europe’s most prestigious club competition would strengthen Tottenham’s chances of landing a big-name replacement for Conte in the summer.
However, already many observers have questioned the decision to hand the reins to loyal Conte disciple Stellini, with fears abounding that the 48-year-old will adopt the same negative tactics that earned his predecessor the sack.
In the longer term, two names have jumped to the top of the list of candidates to succeed Antonio Conte – Julian Nagelsmann and Mauricio Pochettino.
Nagelsmann was sensationally fired by Bayern Munich during the international break after rumours of a fractured dressing room in Bavaria surfaced. The 35-year-old is still considered a hot property however, and he might not be overly enthused about the prospect of taking over problem club Tottenham Hotspur ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.
Mauricio Pochettino meanwhile, has been out of a job since last year and the Argentinean taskmaster might be more open to a homecoming of sorts. Pochettino, of course, spent five glittering years with Tottenham earlier in his career and a return to North London could appeal to the 51-year-old.