What Went Wrong For Nuno At Spurs?
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What Went Wrong For Nuno At Spurs?

Nuno Espirito Santo has been sacked by Tottenham Hotspur after just four months at the helm, following a run of three defeats in their last four matches. Remarkably, his dismissal comes just over seven weeks after picking up the Premier League Manager of the Month award for August. Now chairman Daniel Levy finds himself searching for a new man to take Spurs forward yet again – with Antonio Conte set to take the reins in North London. But where did it all go wrong for the Portuguese boss – and was he doomed from the start?


Sixth Choice

When Jose Mourinho was given the boot in April this year, just days before the Carabao Cup final, Spurs supporters expected a replacement to be appointed relatively swiftly.

Instead, it took 72 days of delay and rejection to ultimately settle on Espirito Santo.

Ryan Mason was put in charge until the end of last season, but it still took until late June for the former Wolves boss to be given the keys to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

From discussions with the man who led them to the Champions League final – Mauricio Pochettino – to talks with incoming replacement Antonio Conte and reportedly being turned down by Julen Lopetegui, Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso, it was a difficult summer for the club’s hierarchy.

They eventually settled on Espirito Santo – an unglamourous coach, who had struggled in his final season at Molineux and is renowned for a defence-first approach to football.

The Kane Dilemma

Just weeks into his new job, Espirito Santo was handed the difficult situation of his star striker looking to force a move away.

Although Harry Kane ultimately stayed in North London, having a clearly unhappy player hanging around the dressing room was hardly ideal so early in his tenure.

Kane’s discontent was reflected in his form, with Espirito Santo seemingly unable to get him firing on all cylinders this season.

After scoring 23 and assisting a further 14 in the Premier League last term, Tottenham’s No10 has only managed a total of two league goal contributions in 2021-22.

Failure To Create

Spurs have struggled to reach the same heights they hit in the opening weeks of the season, appearing to come back from the first international break a completely different side.

Under Espirito Santo, Spurs have created just 71 chances in the top flight – the second-lowest figure in the division and just four more than the amount bottom club Norwich City have mustered.

It’s not like Tottenham have taken opportunities when they have arisen either, with their total of nine goals also the joint-second lowest in the division.

And that lack of attacking impetus has ultimately proved to be the manager’s undoing, at a club that expects a front-footed brand of entertaining football.

Fans Turning

Much like in the boardroom, Espirito Santo was not the favoured choice amongst Spurs supporters at the time of his appointment.

Their good start may have silenced any doubters, but the fan base had become increasingly vocal in their dissatisfaction by Saturday evening.

Espirito Santo’s decision to take off Lucas Moura for Steven Bergwijn early into the second half against Manchester United was met with audible dissent from the crowd, while the manager cut a forlorn figure on the edge of his technical area.

The Red Devils soon compounded the former goalkeeper’s misery to all but seal his fate – and force Levy back to the drawing board.




V: 1.33.0 All rights reserved. August 2021