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Tactics: How would Tottenham play under Antonio Conte?

Antonio Conte making a hand gesture
(Image credit: Getty)

Antonio Conte looks set to be appointed the new Tottenham Hotspur boss after entering "advanced talks" with the club over replacing Nuno Espirito Santo, who was  sacked on Monday morning. 

The Italian is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the modern game, with a clear playing philosophy and an impressive trophy haul from various leagues across Europe. He's done it on these shores too, leading Chelsea to a Premier League title and an FA Cup during his three-year stint in West London between 2016 and 2018. 

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But how would his tactical game plan look at Tottenham? We take a look...

How would Tottenham play under Antonio Conte?

Antonio Conte

(Image credit: Future)

Conte is known as a confrontational manager who demands total conformity from his players. He tends to set his sides up in a 3-4-3 formation, or a variation of the tactic. That was the strategy he adopted at Chelsea, where he led a tenacious team to a league title and FA Cup during his three-year spell.

After taking over at Inter in 2018, Conte adapted his favoured formation slightly. Instead of playing with three out and our forwards, he played a 3-4-1-2, with a no.10 drifting between the lines behind Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. His chosen strike partnership had a good blend of pace and industry. 

At Spurs he could replicate the latter strategy, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min among the most hardworking and tactically intelligent forwards in the Premier League. Behind them, Tanguy Ndombele could be given license to roam forward and create – with less of an emphasis on tracking back; something which would suit the free-spirited Frenchman. 

A back three is almost a certainty, and Conte would have decent options for these central defender spots, including Ben Davies, Joe Rodon, Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Davison Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga. Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon are no-brainers on the flanks, while the midfield two picks itself. Rotation options would include Oliver Skipp and Harry Winks. 

It is also possible Dele Alli could find form again in Conte's Spurs, either as a no.10 in Ndombele's place, or as an alternative forward to Kane or Son. The Englishman was one of the club's star performers under previous coach Maurichio Pochettino and Spurs retain hope he can recapture that form. 

While the 3-4-3 formation appears a natural fit for this Tottenham squad, it would mean certain players would find their chances limited, not least the wingers. Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura could be among those moved on, therefore. 

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