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Home   /   Why do people care about Conte’s style of football if Tottenham keep on winning?

Tottenham Hotspur have recorded their best Premier League start with 23 points from their first ten games, but apparently Spurs play bad football. Would people be happier if Antonio Conte’s side were sixth in the table but played more possession-based football?

Conte does not play as free flowing football as Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta, but it is effective and there is more than one way to skin a cat. Spurs played pretty football for years under Mauricio Pochettino with a young, exciting team and despite getting to multiple semi-finals and a Champions League final, won nothing.

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For years, the North London side have been labelled as weak, soft and lacking an under belly in the key moments and now Conte has addressed those issues, they are being criticised for not playing football that is pleasing enough on the eye. Many successful teams in the history of football have played counterattacking or ‘defensive’ football, just ask Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez, their trophy hauls speak for themselves.

Since the former Inter Milan manager came in, he has guided Spurs to a top four finish over rivals Arsenal and his side now sit third in the league level with City and top of their champions’ league group. The North London side have scored 22 goals in just ten games this season, an average of 2.2 per game and only two goals less than free flowing Arsenal. They have scored in every single game this season. Last season, Spurs finished the season having scored 69 goals, with an average of 1.8 goals per game despite a poor start to the season under Nuno Espirito Santo, who Conte replaced in November. The 69 goals Spurs scored was the fourth most in the League last season, eight more than Arsenal and 12 more than Manchester United.

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Despite all of Manchester City’s riches and the 71% percent possession they had in the meeting between both sides at the Etihad last season, the North London outfit came out winners by three goals to two and created more clear-cut chances. You do not get extra points or goals for playing what is perceived by supporters or the public as nice football, so as long as the former Juventus boss continues to pick up results and his side remain near the top end of the table, then there is no reason then these complaints will continue to fall on deaf ears. Daniel Levy, who ultimately decides the future of the manager and the football club will not have a problem with the club being a genuine title contender just because they don’t play football like prime Barcelona.

It is almost an unwritten rule that you must play ‘tiki-taka’ style football, constantly flying forward at any chance and playing hundreds of passed. Conte sees football differently; he prefers his teams to be solid and attack swiftly on the counter; who is anyone to tell him he is wrong with his CV? The Italian has won Seria A with both Inter Milan and Juventus and the Premier League with Chelsea playing like this so it would be irresponsible for him to stop now.

If every side played the same brand of football, then the league would be incredibly boring. The Lilywhites are now an incredibly tough team to beat, especially at home where they have won every single game in all competitions this season. You have to play to the strengths of your coaching and the players you have in your squad to pick up the best results and ultimately managers are judged on results. Spurs have one of the deadliest front lines in the league and they are unstoppable on the counter-attack with Son Heung-Min and Dejan Kulusevski or Richarlison running beyond Harry Kane who can pick either of them out. Why should Conte stop playing like this just because people don’t enjoy watching it as much as other sides?

Kane is enjoying his best start to a Premier League season with nine goals in ten games; he is certainly not complaining about the attacking intent of his side.

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Who decides what is the right way of playing football? Just because Tottenham play a formation with five at the back does not necessarily mean the football is defensive, with the wing backs expected to push on, creating and scoring goals.

There have been times during games where Spurs have looked a bit slow, but they continue to win games in what is a marathon of the season with the World Cup.

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May 2024