Antonio Conte kicks off Tottenham Career with an eventful win in Europe

Tottenham Hotspur galvanised their hopes of progressing through Group G of the Europa Conference League with an eventful and action-packed win over Vitesse.

Antonio Conte was only announced as Spurs manager on Tuesday. On Thursday evening, he stood on the touchlines as he watch his team claim all three points with a 3-2 victory. Tottenham were 3rd in their group ahead of the kick-off, but now sit in the 2nd qualifying position on 7 points.

A game full of drama

Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura found themselves on the scoresheet within 22 minutes and a Vitesse own goal extended the lead to three. The own goal scorer, Jacob Rasmussen, then scored from a header before Matus Bero got a second for the visitors. And all this was within 39 minutes of play. What a whirlwind of a first half.

Although there were no goals in the second half, the drama of the night continued as three players were shown red cards. Cristian Romero was the first to receive his marching orders just under 60 minutes after comitting a second bookable offence. Vitesse then lost a defender in the 81st minute and the goalkeeper in the 84th minute!

Conte seals first Spurs victory

What was Conte to think of his opening game? Well, it really was a fitting example of both the excellent potential that Tottenham have among their ranks but also, it displayed their worrying capability to switch off and concede goals. The new boss said,

“I don’t like this type of crazy game…I want a stable team and when there is the possibility to kill the opponent you must kill”

In front of the almost sell-out crowd that attended the match, the first 20 minutes were a delight to watch. The Tottenham starting XI looked to play with excitement, purpose, and vigour that can only have stemmed from the appointment of their new world-class coach.

After the 124-day reign of Nuno Espirito Santo ended, many of the criticisms of his Tottenham team surrounded the lack of creativity upfront. Tottenham didn’t even register a shot on target in their last Premier League match. However, Son, Moura, and the other attackers on display against Vitesse created many exciting attacks and seemed to be moving forwards in numbers and with purpose. It was a breath of fresh air for all Spurs fans who know they have the potential to perform like this week-in-week-out.

Of course, it was Heung-Min Son to get Conte’s new Spurs team off the mark. Son scored first during Mourinho’s first game. He scored first in Nuno’s opening game as well. He did not miss his chance after the Vitesse keeper saved a shot from Harry Kane and the ball fell at his magical feet.

Lucas Moura then calmly slipped the ball past the Vitesse keeper as the crescendo of a stunning attacking move that involved Moura, Kane, and a few other Spurs players.
Antonio Conte was clearly unhappy when the first Vitesse goal was headed in by the own goal scorer. The manager felt that the concession of the ball was far too soft. He was angered even further when a sloppy pass from Lucas Moura was intercepted by Vitesse midfielder Yann Gboho leading to an easy second goal for the Dutch visitors.

When Romero was sent off, Conte switched the formation to a back four and brought Davinson Sanchez, Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele onto the pitch to batten down the hatches.

Spurs likely to continue European Journey

There was every possibility that this would have been Tottenham’s last game of the tournament had they lost to the Dutch side again. As much as the inaugural European competition has its critics, it will no doubt be the aim of Conte to see his Spurs side lift the trophy next year.

Why is it so important? Well, for one it is a guaranteed spot in the Europa League in the following campaign. Fans are expecting Spurs to occupy at least a Europa League spot in the EPL however it’s nice to know the security would be there with a cup win. Also, it would end Tottenham’s well-documented drought of Silverware and perhaps ‘break the curse’.

The Tottenham Hotspur starting XI

GK

Lloris

DEF

Dier
Romero
Davies
Emerson

MDF

Skipp
Hojbjerg
Reguilon
Moura
Son

FWD

Kane

The manager’s thoughts

After the game, Conte said that,

“It was a crazy game, usually I don’t like this types of games, the crazy game means anything can happen. But at the same time I think we should win, and we won. It’s not easy because in two days we prepare for this game against Everton. It’s only one day because I think tomorrow it’s impossible to work with the players that played tonight, because they used a lot of energy.”

What’s next for Tottenham?

Spurs will travel to Goodison Park on Sunday for a 2pm KO with Everton.

Following the international break, Spurs will host Leeds on the 21st of November at 16:30.