Antonio Conte’s time in charge of Tottenham Hotspur came to an end after 16 months on Sunday evening.
The 53-year-old Italian never truly found his groove during his time in north London – and even publicly threatened to quit on a number of occasions.
Despite an uneasy relationship with his players at times, Conte was able to guide Spurs to a top-four finish last season.
He leaves with the club occupying fourth place in the Premier League again this season, although both Conte and Tottenham appear relieved that their time working together had come to an end.
The former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss had been widely tipped to leave Hotspur Way when his contract expired in the summer, with frustration over poor results and negative performances growing among the fan base.
When Conte went on a savage rant about his own players and the club in general following a 3-3 draw at Southampton earlier this month, his position became pretty much untenable.
Tottenham players ‘baffled’ by Conte’s methods
The amazing outburst came shortly after Tottenham had been dumped out of both the FA Cup and the Champions League, leaving success in the Premier League as the club’s sole remaining target this season.
In that poor run of results – which ultimately led to Conte’s departure – Spurs’ players often looked tired.
In the days following his exit, a source for the Daily Mail admitted that Conte’s intense training schedule had ‘left the players on their knees’ before big matches. Before most big games, the squad were expected to run 2km.
Although nobody would complain to the manager’s face, many Tottenham stars were said to have been left ‘baffled’ by his methods.
“Surely, they should be reserving energy for the heat of the battle? There were plenty more gripes about regimented training sessions. Training the same every day, tactics the same every day,” stated the Mail’s source.
Spurs’ tactics during matches were another point of frustration for the club’s players.
Conte’s style of play was described as ‘rigid and too defensive’, with Tottenham’s attacking stars pleading to be allowed to be more adventurous in their approach.
Conte reportedly walked out of team meeting earlier this year
However, Conte seemingly wasn’t an easy man to speak to, as demonstrated by his reported behaviour when gathering his squad at the club’s Enfield headquarters for crisis talks in late January.
If Tottenham’s players assembled expecting a full and frank discussion about what was going wrong at the club, they would quickly be disappointed.
As soon as the final member of the squad arrived, Conte promptly walked out – instructing them to work out the reasons behind their terrible form among themselves.
It was a bizarre move from Conte – and proved to be a gamble that did not pay off.
In the aftermath of the manager’s controversial press conference at Southampton, several members of the first-team were said to have wanted Conte gone.
It wasn’t long before they would get their way, with Conte’s former assistant, Cristian Stellinini, named interim coach until the end of the season over the weekend.
Perhaps tellingly, there haven’t been many tributes paid to Conte from inside the Spurs camp since that announcement was made, either.