Later News Nov 26

Conte finally realises that rumours of Tottenham’s ‘Spursiness’ are true after shock Mura loss

New Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte may be an experienced head in the game, but even had to learn two valuable – but painful – lessons this week.


The first was a lesson in the virtue of patience – if Conte had just held out for two more weeks, instead of rushing into the Spurs job, he would probably have landed the more lucrative job at Manchester United, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last Sunday.


Instead, the interim managerial role at the Red Devils is now set to go to Ralf Rangnick, with Mauricio Pochettino, Erik Ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers waiting in the wings to take over permanently in the summer.


WATCH: United train under Michael Carrick after Solskjaer's departure


The second lesson that Conte learnt was about humility – that no matter how good of a manager he is, there are just some strong, ancient forces in football which cannot be easily eradicated, like that of the curse of ‘Spursiness’.


Conte was taught the full, uncensored version of the second lesson this morning (SGT), as he saw his surprisingly strong Spurs side – which contained the likes of Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele, and Dele Alli – fall to a 2-1 defeat to Slovenian side NS Mura in the Europa Conference League.


Mura, which was founded in 2012, and does not even have their club crest up on Google, took the lead in the 11th minute through Tomi Horvat.


Spurs then went down to 10 men in the 31st minute when Ryan Sessegnon decided that he was too well-paid to be playing in Slovenia against the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, and so promptly got himself sent off.


Kane did score the equaliser for Spurs midway through the second half, but Mura had the last laugh, as they nabbed a late winner in the fourth minute of added time through Amadej Maroša.


As a result of the defeat, Spurs' chances of qualifying for the next round of the third-tier European tournament now hangs in the balance - they will have to beat Rennes in the final group game in order to progress, and hope that Vitesse don't beat their goal difference by thrashing Mura.


After the game, Conte admitted that, unlike millions of football fans and pundits out there, he did not expect that Spurs to be this bad.


WATCH: Conte reflects on Mura defeat


“After three weeks I am starting to understand the situation. It is not simple. At this moment the level at Tottenham is not so high,” said Conte, in what has to go down as contender for understatement of the year.


Conte, however, remains determined to change Spurs’ fortunes and usher in an unprecedented era of success that their fans have long craved for.


“There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. I am here to work, here to improve the situation. I know that in this moment we need to have patience, time and I am here because I know there are problems to solve,” Conte declared.


“If someone thinks that a new coach arrives and Conte won in the past and then I am a magician. But the only magic I can do is to work. To bring work and work to improve, to bring my methods, my ideas of football. But we have to understand that we need time.”


But, in a thinly-veiled warning to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to spend money in the transfer market, Conte insisted that there was only so much he could do with the current lot on his hands.


WATCH: Conte gets involved in Spurs training


“We have a lot of desire to work but you can work, work, work, work. But you can push a car at maximum level and sometimes it is not enough to be competitive,” said Conte, while presumably shooting a dirty look at Matt Doherty.


“This road could be one metre or 100 metres, I am not scared, I am ready to go and do this path. But at the same time, I want to be very honest, we have to work a lot and improve in many, many aspects.


“The club is outstanding outside, to create a stadium but now we start from behind. It is important to know this because I am not a magician and after three weeks, I have found players that want to work and have great commitment but sometimes it is not enough.”




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