Jonathan Woodgate Exclusive: Conte Would Have Been Perfect
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Jonathan Woodgate Exclusive: Conte Would Have Been Perfect

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte would have been perfect for Manchester United, according to former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate. The Italian tactician led Inter Milan to their first Serie A title in over a decade last term, before leaving in the summer and arriving in North London at the start of November – less than a month before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was replaced by Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford. And Woodgate believes the 52-year-old has the ability to end Spurs’ 14-year trophy drought, but that United should have moved sooner to secure his signature.


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Conte The Man To End Trophy Drought

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: "[Tottenham] couldn’t get anyone better than Antonio Conte to try and [end their trophy drought]. 

"We’ve seen him do it at Inter Milan, Juventus and Chelsea. He’s a top manager. He’s got a pedigree at the top. 

"I was surprised that other teams didn’t come in for Conte after he left Inter Milan because he’s an exceptional manager.

"I was surprised by [the fact United didn’t try to sign Conte] as well, because Man Utd want to win trophies, and they’ve had [David] Moyes, [Louis] Van Gaal, [Jose] Mourinho, Solskjaer, why couldn’t you get Antonio Conte when he’s available? 

"He’s an outstanding manager. I don’t buy into people saying he’s not a Man Utd manager, what is?

"You had Alex Ferguson, the man who’s brought the most success, the others who followed him haven’t been able to get close to winning the Premier League. 

"I think Antonio Conte would have been perfect for Man Utd."

Manchester United v Tottenham Preview And Predictions - Premier League Week 29

Manchester United v Tottenham Preview And Predictions - Premier League Week 29

Massive Game In Champions League Race

Ahead of Tottenham’s clash with the Red Devils, Woodgate claims the contest holds great significance for both sides as they seek a top-four finish – picking out Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min as potential match-winners for the visitors.

"[The match] is massive for both," he explained. "It’s so important for Man Utd after getting a real thumping from Man City and Tottenham need it. 

"A draw for Tottenham wouldn’t be the worst result in the world, but for Man Utd, they need to win the game. They can’t afford to keep on getting beat after getting battered by Man City.

"[Kane] and Son could be the difference-makers [against United], because they’re two world-class players for Tottenham. 

"I’m sure they’ll probably sit back with a deep block and counter-attack like they did so effectively against Man City where they scored three outstanding goals. 

"If Man Utd are off it with the press, Harry Kane could capitalise because he’s a world-class striker.

"I think the top four is still going to be difficult for United [regardless of the result]. The performances they’ve shown all season have been inconsistent. 

"With the three games Arsenal have got in hand on them, it’s really going to be tough for them.

"If [Tottenham] become more consistent [they could have a chance of finishing in the top four], but we’ve been saying it all season about Spurs, they’re very inconsistent. 

"Really inconsistent, like United, Arsenal at times can be inconsistent, but Arsenal – they’re fourth at the minute and they look like the ones who are going to nick it. 

"And if they do finish fourth, what a job [Mikel] Arteta has done, from the start of the season they had."

Arsenal v Leicester Preview And Predictions - Premier League Week 29

Arsenal v Leicester Preview And Predictions - Premier League Week 29

Top Four Finish Crucial

Woodgate feels finishing outside the top four could be particularly damaging for Tottenham, both in terms of recruitment and their ability to hang on to Conte and star striker Kane.

"Everyone needs the right tools for the job. And at the minute, [Conte] hasn’t got those tools," he continued.

"Come the summer, hopefully Spurs back him and give him the resources to get the right players for how he wants to play. 

"They have to be creative in what they do. Like they have with [Rodrigo] Bentancur and [Dejan] Kulusevski. They were just about to sign [Luis] Diaz but Liverpool came in and took him away from them. 

"If they don’t finish in the Champions League, it’s going to be hard to really get top players to come because they don’t want to play in the Europa League or Europa Conference, they want to be playing at the highest level possible.

"If they don’t finish in the top four it’s going to be difficult for them again. And difficult for Conte, would he sign another contract? 

"I know he’s got a year left, but would he sign another contract if they were in the Europa League again? I’m not so sure.

"At the end of this season, it’ll be two years left on [Kane’s] contract. I can’t see him wanting to stay. 

"Harry Kane wants to win trophies. Every single player wants to win trophies and wants to play in the Champions League. 

"He wanted to leave this season, he even said himself he wanted to leave. I can’t see how he stays at Spurs if he wants to win trophies."

 

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