Tottenham begin anew with Antonio Conte, but is it enough?

Spurs manager Antonio Conte shows his emotions during the Premier League match against Everton. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Conte is a masterful footballing boss – is he good enough to save Tottenham?

This is a realistic question to ask because while Antonio Conte has seemingly proved himself capable in basically any scenario, Tottenham has run afoul of even the most highly thought of managers in recent memory.

While Nuno Espirito Santo is a good coach, he is not a “Special One” like his predecessor who took over from Mauricio Pochettino who got them the closest to ending their trophy drought than anyone else. Pochettino is in Paris now with PSG where his team will be a candidate to reach the Champions League final every season. His success will always haunt and embarrass Spurs. Period.

Pochettino did not want to leave Tottenham when he was sacked by Daniel Levy but gone he was, only months after coming so close to winning the UCL against Liverpool. This was an egregious mistake on the part of the club and one they have been paying for ever since. They thought they were so close that a change in coach could make a difference, but they badly misjudged their spot.

It turns out, in reality, Pochettino was a major force in getting the team to that point in the first place and without him, this team, and its players, have not been the same. Had Spurs backed Pochettino the way they backed Mourinho, he might still be there and the team might still be thriving. Instead, the team is not thriving, are on their third coach since he left, and Harry Kane is very likely on the way out of north London to Manchester or Spain.

So, can Conte solve this accursed riddle for himself and all the Spurs supporters around the world?

Maybe Conte is the man to solve the Tottenham riddle

Conte is a mastermind and while his style of play won’t always be what the fans wish to see, they will more often than not conjure up the proper results. For Spurs, that will be crucial as it is not as though they lack talent. From front to back, this team has the means to cause suffering for other clubs on a consistent basis.

The biggest problem for Spurs is getting them going. Once they are going on offense, they can score in droves. But a shaky defense that has remained even after Jose Mourinho’s departure continues to stop the offense from flourishing.

Luckily for Spurs, Conte is brilliant in his organizational tactics and should get that part of the team playing better. Should that happen, it is not as though Kane and company cannot put on fireworks when given the ball. Kane had a bucketful of goals and assists last season and can contribute any way he is asked to across the pitch.

With the leadership of the new boss, the team will certainly be better and should again be frontrunners to win the inaugural Europa Conference League. However, the Premier League remains trickier.

Premier League a bit trickier for Spurs than Europe

While the European ambitions of Conte and Tottenham are realizable, England remains difficult. There are at least three teams better than Spurs, maybe more, all things considered. Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool are definitely there while United, especially if they get a better manager, are likely there as well. Leicester, when on form, could be better than Spurs, and Arsenal are showing they actually could be too.

That is six teams leaving Tottenham outside of the top four or even five. They would be back in the Conference League or into the Europa League but they wouldn’t find themselves any higher than that. To get to those higher levels, the team will have to perform better than they have, and again, Conte can make that happen.

But it will not be as easy as winning in Europe. There are tough teams up and down the league and that will preclude them from making a magical domestic run either in the FA Cup or Premier League.

Everton should be better than they have been. Aston Villa are much better than they’ve showed up to this point and may get a boost under new manager Steven Gerrard.

Spurs have no easy way forward but, luckily, their boss is a talented and thoughtful man who will surely get more from this squad than anyone else they might have hired.