Firestarter Conte turns up heat on Levy
The Guardian|January 25, 2022
Tottenham’s manager has been scathing over the squad’s failings and his chairman will not have missed the message – the week ahead could be tense    
David Hytner

After a result like Tottenham’s 2-0 Premier League defeat by Chelsea on Sunday it is commonplace to turn the focus on the manager and, goodness knows, Antonio Conte had offered the ammunition. There was a new 4-4-2 starting system from the Spurs manager, featuring full-backs in front of full-backs and not much creativity in central midfield.

The messages appeared everywhere. There was no Sergio Reguilón, despite the overload of full-backs – or Emerson Royal, for that matter. They would kick their heels on the bench. But at least they were inside the stadium, which is more than could be said of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli.

Ndombele was last seen walking offat low speed upon his substitution in the FA Cup win over Morecambe on 9 January and, as such, is the founder member of Conte’s bomb squad. Lo Celso and Alli have been added, with the former making clear on Instagram he was 100% fit . Alli’s social media move involved him uploading a silly video to TikTok during the game, which he later deleted.

Conte felt he had needed to try something different after his team’s losses to Chelsea in both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final and the first half went relatively well. Spurs settled after a shaky start and, with Steven Bergwijn showing a couple of flashes on the counter, they were unlucky to see a Harry Kane goal ruled out for a soft foul on Thiago Silva .

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