Conte leaves Tottenham ‘by mutual agreement’

Antonio Conte has left Tottenham “by mutual agreement” after 16 months in charge, the Premier League club announced on Sunday.

His departure comes after the Italian’s extraordinary post-match rant following a 3-3 draw at Southampton on March 18, a game in which they blew a 3-1 lead.

The 53-year-old, who took over in November 2021, will be replaced by his assistant Cristian Stellini until the end of the season.

“We can announce that head coach Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual agreement,” a club statement read.

“We achieved Champions League qualification in Antonio’s first season at the club. We thank Antonio for his contribution and wish him well for the future.

“Cristian Stellini will take the team as acting head coach for the remainder of the season, along with Ryan Mason as assistant head coach.”

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy added: “We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place.

“We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our club and amazing, loyal supporters.”

Conte leaves with Spurs fourth in the Premier League, but only two points above fifth-placed Newcastle, who have two games in hand on the London side in the race for Champions League qualification.

Stellini previously stood in for Conte on the touchline this season when the Italian was recovering from gallbladder surgery.

Conte won league titles in his previous three spells in club management at Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan, but was unable to end Tottenham’s 15-year wait to win a major trophy.

His contract was due to expire at the end of the season.

Conte labelled his players “selfish” and accused them of not being able to perform under pressure in an extraordinary tirade after the draw against Southampton.

He also took aim at Tottenham’s long trophy drought and pinned the blame on a culture of repeatedly changing managers.

– Serial winner –

Conte arrived at Spurs in November 2021 with the reputation of a ruthless serial winner who could transform the fortunes of a club whose last English league title was in 1961.

There was an initial impact as an upturn in form in the second half of last season saw Spurs edge out north London rivals Arsenal to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League.

However, there is a 20-point gap between the two this season as the Gunners close in on a first league title in 19 years.

Conte’s time in north London was also blighted by personal tragedy and ill-health.

Gian Piero Ventrone, a long time member of Conte’s staff as a fitness coach, died suddenly in October.

Two close friends and former players, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli, have also died in recent months.

Conte had to undergo emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder last month, which forced him to take two spells away from the touchline to recover.

But his return did not have the desired effect in galvanising his players, who had lost 1-0 to second-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round in his absence.

Spurs crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage after a disappointing 1-0 aggregate defeat to AC Milan. BSS


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