Whoever replaces Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham must be given free rein as manager, while the new man’s top priority should be getting Harry Kane firing again, says Jamie Redknapp.
Nuno was sacked by Tottenham on Monday, less than five months after taking charge of the north London club, and Antonio Conte has been offered an 18-month deal to replace the Portuguese, according to Sky in Italy.
Paul Gilmour reports from Tottenham’s training ground, where Nuno Espirito Santo has been relieved of his duties at the club’s manager.
The former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan boss was reportedly in line to succeed Jose Mourinho before talks broke down last summer, with Nuno instead taking on the role.
Nuno, 47, signed a two-year contract in June following a protracted search to find Mourinho’s successor, but his tenure has lasted just beyond four months and a total of only 17 games.
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The departure of Nuno, who left Wolves in May after four seasons in charge, means Spurs are now looking for their fourth permanent manager in the last three years and Redknapp says chairman Daniel Levy cannot afford to get this next appointment wrong.
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Spurs will need to give Conte full licence
Sky Sports News’ Paul Gilmour reports that talks between Tottenham Antonio Conte are already well advanced, with negotiations understood to be in their final stages.
“I’m sure a lot of Tottenham fans would be delighted with Conte – he is a first-class manager and a serial winner, he did an incredible job with Chelsea and Inter Milan, so he knows the game inside out. He would be a brilliant signing for them.
“Spurs need to be careful Conte does not play them off with Man Utd and maybe force United’s hand, so it will be an interesting few days.
“I do not understand why after four months you could get him, but you could not four months ago – there was a problem with the transfer budget and he could not agree with what Daniel Levy wanted to do with the club.
“When you have a manager like Conte, you have to give him the licence to get the players in that he wants and to play the system he wants, you can’t interfere, he does things his way.
“He has worked with Tottenham’s director of football [Fabio Paratici] before at Juventus, so that is important as that has to work, they have to marry up together and make sure they are pulling in the same direction, otherwise it can be a disaster.
“And right now, on the field Tottenham are the laughing stock of football, off field they are the envy of everyone because of the stadium and the training ground, but they are making a lot of mistakes in that boardroom.”
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This is not just Nuno’s problem
In his final interview before being sacked by Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo said he understood the criticism of the team.
“Four months – what chance have you got to build a squad, or a team? I get the frustration at the weekend of the Tottenham fans and their right to voice their opinions, but this has been going on for a while now.
“Mauricio Pochettino found it hard to get a tune out of this team, Jose Mourinho has and now Nuno has found it difficult.
“I have gone on record before saying it is a talented squad, but there is something missing there and from Nuno’s point of view, he inherited the Harry Kane situation, which is really difficult for any manager – you have your star player wants to leave and does not want to be at the club and you have to somehow deal with that.
“That is hard trying to bring a squad together and can cause an enormous amount of problems, but the surprise I have had with Nuno is his success with Wolves was playing three at the back.
After a dream start to life at Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo quickly saw performances and results fall away.
“And he did a great job and that is what put him on the map as a manager, they got good players, but he did not try and play that system.
“But this is not just his problem, there are other managers struggling in this department and whoever takes over next is going to have to have the licence to do what they need to do and they are going to need financial backing to buy the right players.
“A midfielder is an area they need to address, but nothing surprises me at Tottenham when you have a chairman like Levy who is quick to make decisions like this, he does not mess around and I’m sure he knows he needs to get this one right, although we have said that before.”
- Nuno Espirito Santo: Some Spurs players aren’t committed enough
Levy must get the next appointment right, he can’t keep sacking managers
Image: The pressure is on Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to get the next managerial appointment right, says Redknapp
“When you keep getting managers in and sacking managers and getting a squad like you have…. The problem Nuno had as a manager was when you are a club of Tottenham’s stature, you need to get your first choice, you do not miss out.
“And if you do not get your first choice, you get your second, but Nuno was their fifth, sixth choice in the end. So to a certain extent, he goes into that changing room naked and you are in a very difficult position from the start.
“So there have been so many things that have gone wrong at the club and they now have to get this one right. And if they can get Conte, they will be delighted with that, but it does not mean straight away he is going to get this right.
“You might have to be really patient, but one thing you can’t keep doing is sacking managers left, right and centre every time it does not go right and especially if you get a manager in and give him four months – what chance have you got? Every manager deserves a little bit of time at least.
“The football has not been good, but it has not been good for a few years now, so at least let him get his feet under the table and implement a system and the players that he wants, or maybe even give him a couple of transfer windows.
“But Daniel has always picked the players in the past and that is the major problem.”
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“Get Kane going, that is the big thing. If I was a manager at that club right now and I took over the job, how do I get Kane going (would be my top priority)?
“You need to have a conversation with him about do you want to be at this club, are you part of my plans? If he says ‘no’, I try and sell him in January. I am his biggest fan but he is not playing to the level that he wants at the moment. He does not look like he is enjoying his football and that would be your first objective – can I get Kane playing well alongside [Heung-Min] Son.
“Get a system that works for the players and make sure you get that level back because at the moment, even Arsenal are above them. There are a lot of clubs who are in healthier situations than Tottenham – and they should not be, because everything is in place at that club. But they are making so many bad decisions off the field and there is no doubt it then spreads to the playing staff because something at the club is not right.
“It seems there are too many factors, on field, off field, it is not working and you have to make sure that is correct. So whoever comes in next – if they can get Conte, who I think would be a great fit for Man Utd, as he is a winner – they need to get someone in there who will change the mindset of those players, get them running through brick walls.
“When you look at the stats right now, Tottenham are one of the lowest in the running and if you have a team who are not running, or chasing for you, that is a recipe for disaster. All the best teams that finish high up the league are normally the ones that work the hardest.
“And that is what Pochettino did and that is why Tottenham fans adored him, because they ran through brick walls for that team. And the Tottenham team right now – Roy Keane touched on it on the weekend – are not doing that. There is no reason why they can’t, they have a lot of young, fit players, but somehow you have to get those players working hard and get them going.
“You do not want a situation where you put a manager in place till the end of the season, as that will cause a problem as well. Right now is important for Tottenham, they have to get things going really quickly and try and push on as it does not take a lot – it is two or three games and everything can change and you can see that the confidence comes back into the players.”
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