News, Culture & Society

Tottenham: Five problems Antonio Conte HAS to solve after taking over as Spurs’ new manager

There will be no honeymoon period for Antonio Conte, he knows he has to hit the ground running.

With Champions League football at stake, the new Tottenham boss needs Premier League points, and he needs them immediately.

Here, Sportsmail looks at the issues Conte must address during his opening few weeks in charge… 

Antonio Conte has been confirmed as Tottenham’s new manager on a deal until 2023

Tottenham: Five problems Antonio Conte HAS to solve after taking over as Spurs' new manager

He said he was excited to return to the Premier League and help Spurs become ‘protagonists’


There were a host of reasons why Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked; many of them of his own making. But Kane’s uncharacteristic barren spell in the Premier League was certainly a significant factor in the Portuguese’s dismissal. 

Kane is unquestionably Tottenham’s main source of goals, Conte will know that. No matter the circumstances behind Kane’s misfiring season so far, Conte will realise the key to Tottenham’s success will be to re-engage Kane. The new Tottenham boss was interesting when discussing Kane in the summer. 

‘Many praise Harry Kane for his ability to go get the ball and play with the team, such as with the equaliser against Denmark,’ said Conte during his work as a pundit during Euro 2020. 

‘Of course, he’s good at that too, but it’s in the box where he’s clinical and as a coach, I would always keep him in there because he’s devastating.’ 

If anyone can get Kane firing again, you’d imagine it’s Conte. The England captain has grown disillusioned at Tottenham; the appointment for a genuine elite manager should get Kane’s juices flowing once again. 

Indeed, Kane is said to be encouraged by the arrival of the Italian and is excited to work alongside him. That can only bode well.

Talisman Harry Kane¿s barren spell was a significant factor in Nuno Espirito Santo¿s dismissal

Talisman Harry Kane’s barren spell was a significant factor in Nuno Espirito Santo’s dismissal 


There will be money to spend in January. Not loads – but certainly enough to improve Conte’s squad. Talk of an huge pot of money are certainly exaggerated; indeed Conte is likely to look to sell in order to secure his priority targets in January. 

With that in mind, Conte and his new recruitment team have a little under two months to get a plan in place for the January transfer window. Conte will analyse his squad before making any decision on who he is happy for the club to sell. 

But there is already understood to be some decisions made on who Tottenham will target. Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlhaovic is one player Conte is keen on. The 21-year-old was on Tottenham’s radar over the summer but a deal was too complicated to complete at the time. 

But reviving the interest in the Serbian, who has scored 10 goals in 12 games so far this season, looks likely. Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella is another move Conte would like the club to explore ahead of the January window.


Tottenham’s midfield were hardly penetrative under Nuno. For example: of the 103 passes Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg completed against Manchester United on Saturday, 73 weren’t forwards. 

That’s been a theme of Tottenham’s season so far. Playing forward is in Tottenham’s DNA, Conte will embrace that. Could he revitalise Harry Winks in the way Mauricio Pochettino did? He is certainly the type of player Conte likes, Winks’ ability to handling the ball in tight areas akin to what Marcelo Brozovic did for him at Inter Milan. 

The club finished in the Champions League places in all three seasons Winks was a regular, but the midfielder has bizarrely marginalised by Jose Mourinho and Nuno. Conte will certainly need a player to set-up play, a trait Nuno’s teams were lack. 

Likewise, can Conte get a tune out of Tanguy Ndombele, whose talent is undoubted, but consistency leaves a lot to be desired.

Could Conte revitalise central midfielder Harry Winks in the way Mauricio Pochettino did?

Could Conte revitalise central midfielder Harry Winks in the way Mauricio Pochettino did? 


Life at Tottenham’s Enfield HQ has been rather miserable recently. Much of that has to do with their poor form, but axed head coach Nuno’s rather morose manner is also been a major factor. 

Conte met his players for the first time at around 3pm on Tuesday afternoon, immediately stressing to them the importance of hard work and togetherness. He means it, too. 

Conte’s teams, as a rule, are incredibly fit – just ask the players he ran into the ground at Chelsea. The Tottenham squad will find out the hard way, but if that’s cost of success then Conte will expect them to suck it up. 

However, the Italian must find a way to get his new charges smiling again. There was a hilarious clip that resurfaced on social media on Tuesday of Conte preparing to duke it out, boxing gloves and all, with striker Lautaro Martinez in a makeshift ring at Inter’s training ground. 

As serious and passionate as Conte can be, he clearly has a sense of humour. The Tottenham players could do with a laugh right now.


Club captain Hugo Lloris has been a loyal servant to Tottenham but his contract at the club expires at the end of the season. 

Speaking in October about his future and whether he’d been offered fresh terms, the France keeper said: ‘There’s nothing from the club [about a contract]. It’s not a problem, I’m totally focused. We’ll see later about [that] but there’s no issue at all. We know each other very well.’ 

At 34, Lloris is in the twilight of his career, although keepers generally play closer towards their 40s. Lloris is in a strong position in that he can sign a pre-contract with a foreign club from January, meaning one of Conte’s most urgent decisions will be to decide whether he views Lloris as his long-term No 1.

The contract of skipper Hugo Lloris expires at the end of the season - should he stay or go?

The contract of skipper Hugo Lloris expires at the end of the season – should he stay or go?