|Antonio Conte didn’t hold back in his last press conference. AFP Photo|
There’s a great video from a press conference many years ago when the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was asked: “Which Premier League manager would he least like to fight?”
“Big Sam,” Mourinho said with a smile. “He would kill me!”
He was referring to Sam Allardyce, and I do not doubt his selection. Put Big Sam and Jose in a ring together, there’s only going to be one winner.
That quote, although said 15 years ago, got me thinking about which Premier League managers I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of out of the current crop.
Jurgen Klopp for sure. Just watch him on the touchline and it's plain to see there’s definitely a nasty streak to him.
But the one who scares me the most? Antonio Conte of Tottenham Hotspur. Although by the time you read this column, there’s a good chance he could be out of a job.
There’s something about him that, to be honest, kind of terrifies me! Maybe it’s the eyes, I don’t know, but his cold stare is enough to have me quaking in my boots.
Last week, after yet another poor performance by Spurs, the Italian used his post-match press conference to dish out an extraordinary rant against his players and the club.
“We are 11 players that go into the pitch," Conte said of his players.
"I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart (in)."
As for the club itself, he didn’t hold back.
"They don’t play for something important," he said. "They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress.
"It is easy this way. Tottenham’s story is this. For 20 years there is the owner, but they never won something but why?"
Many believe these comments will be the straw that finally breaks the back of Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, and it’s only a matter of time before he shows Conte the door.
Some even suggest the fiery Italian said what he said on purpose, in the hope of getting the sack, and the bucket full of money that comes with it.
Only he actually knows the truth.
One thing for sure though, is he’s probably right. Tottenham have been there or there about for decades, without actually ever stepping up and gaining success.
They have spent a fortune on players, mangers of a decent calibre have come and gone, they have the best ground in the Premier League, but nothing whatsoever to show for it.
They may be sitting in fourth place in the Premier League at the moment, but Liverpool and Newcastle are not far behind them, both with games in hand.
So it’s fair to say this will be another poor season for Tottenham.
It was 2008 when they last won a trophy and since then they’ve had seven different managers. The only thing that’s stayed the same is Levy himself.
Maybe that’s where the problem lies, and it’s time for him to move on and a new chairman step in, because right now, Tottenham are showing little fight, and are heading nowhere very quickly. VNS