As the old cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. On Saturday night, Tottenham were celebrating one of their most impressive victories in recent years as a rejuvenated Harry Kane inspired them to a superb 3-2 win over champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Finally, it seemed as though everything was coming together, and at full-time manager Antonio Conte crowed proudly about how much he was enjoying working with “one of the best squads” of his career.
But fast-forward four days, and a typically ‘Spursy’ 1-0 defeat to Burnley has engulfed the north Londoners in a full-blown crisis again, with Conte staggeringly suggesting the club need to “assess” his future.
Conte has always had a reputation as one of the most passionate, emotional coaches in the world, and his tough-talking, no-nonsense interviews have generally gone down well so far since his arrival at Spurs in November.
On this occasion, however, he has spectacularly misjudged the mood – and Spurs fans may be forgiven for running out of patience with his petulant outbursts.
Conte’s threats to walk away may be seen as more acceptable if this were an issue over transfers or a disagreement at board level.
But the fact is that the January window has been closed for nearly a month now, and if he had any grievances with how Spurs went about their business he should have aired them at the time and been done with it.
His consistent over-dramatic moaning to the press is not benefitting anybody at the moment, and it is hard to understand exactly what he is trying to gain from doing so given that nothing can be done about the squad from now until the end of the campaign.
Instead, Conte should perhaps look at himself, and question why he has been unable to inspire this group of players to wins over three inferior opponents in Southampton, Wolves and Burnley recently.
Sure, the issues with Spurs’ squad are no secret, but there is still no doubt that they should be doing much better than they are currently, with that win against City something of an outlier in what has been a rotten run of form.
The idea remains among many that Spurs should count themselves lucky to have Conte, yet it would reflect just as badly on the man himself as the club if he does leave following just under four months in charge.
It would show a defeatist attitude, and back up the idea that he is the type of coach who can only thrive when being backed by a large chequebook.
Conte has made no secret of the fact that this job is the most challenging of his career, and walking away from it when he has barely got started would not exactly paint him in the best light.
Quite how serious those resign threats are remains to be seen, but it seems highly unlikely that he would quit before the weekend, which offers a massive opportunity to get back on track as Spurs face a Leeds side who have conceded 16 goals in their last four games.
If they can win that and get through to the FA Cup quarter-finals by beating Middlesbrough on Tuesday, suddenly everything may look rosy again.
A defeat, however, could be the one to push Conte over the edge, meaning the stakes could not be higher at Elland Road.
Whatever the case, Conte has to have a serious think about the damage his sulks to the media could be having on his squad and to the general atmosphere at the club.
He may be considered one of the greatest managers in the world, but that does not mean he does not still have plenty of ways to improve.
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