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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte avoids Nuno Espirito Santo trap with glorious chance to start revolution

hen Tottenham found themselves stumbling in the inaugural edition of UEFA’s much-ridiculed third-tier club competition, one would have imagined that in game five of the group stage qualifying would be in the bag. and one side of Channel 2 would be on the plane to the unknown corner of Europe that the dating list had dictated.

Fast forward a few months to the draw, and an early evening meeting with little-known NS Mura in the unknown Slovenian town of Maribor was exactly the kind of tie that made rival fans laugh, Spurs’ participation in the Europa Conference Conference is somewhere between embarrassment and ignominy.

But, as it comes, disappointing results against a relatively more established continental opposition at Rennes and Vitesse Arnhem mean that a victory on Thursday is not just an expectation but a necessity if Spurs are to keep their hopes of dominating. the group – and therefore to qualify directly for the last 16 – on track.

Despite a brief scare in the second leg, North Londoners will be confident to sweep away the Group G minnows, which were founded as the Phoenix club less than a decade ago and have lost all four matches so far in of their first European campaign in the group stage. , but a little sense of danger is only part of the reason Antonio Conte broke with his predecessor by taking each of his available first-team players across the Alps for his first European game at the outside.

Most obvious is that while Nuno Espirito Santo’s two-team politics and, in particular, the decision to leave his first XI at home for the trip to Arnhem has been divisive and unpopular, Conte clearly hates giving up a time. invaluable with his team as he seeks to impress his mid-season ideas and regain some of the collective spirit of the Mauricio Pochettino era.

There were clues in the comeback that secured the Italian’s first Premier League win in the Italian reign, against Leeds on Sunday, and although Conte promised changes to the team that started this game, he presented the rotation as an opportunity with places still available. up for grabs, rather than a thankless venture for a cast of liners unlikely to force their way into the main production.

The center of defense, where his preference for a three-way defender coupled with Cristian Romero’s injury suddenly opened new doors, is one example.

And then there’s the old adage that momentum is easily lost but hard to regain. Immediately that game is followed by a trip to Burnley and then home games against Brentford and Norwich, a great run which represents a glorious chance for the Tale Revolution to gain momentum before the Christmas season.

Longer term, the 52-year-old knows the importance of ending the Spurs’ trophy drought – in any way – sooner rather than later, and this competition represents his best chance to do so to give a further boost to a summer in which Daniel Levy again hinted this week that the new manager will be backed, despite the club’s financial woes.

“For us this competition is important,” said Conte. “We want to build something big and try to win trophies together. In England, it’s not easy because the other teams are very, very strong, but I know that we can improve a lot.


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