Antonio Conte insists he turned down Tottenham last summer because he was ‘still too emotionally involved’ with Inter Milan and says Daniel Levy’s ‘contagious enthusiasm’ won him over after joining on £13m contract
- READ: Tottenham confirmed the appointment of Antonio Conte as head coach
- The Italian put the record straight on why he turned down the club this summer
- Conte said it was too soon to join after guiding Inter Milan to the Serie A title
Tottenham’s new head coach Antonio Conte has set the record straight on why he turned the club down in the summer – stressing he was still ’emotionally involved’ after leaving Inter Milan – as he hailed Daniel Levy for convincing him to join.
Spurs have moved quickly after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo following the team’s dismal 3-0 defeat to Manchester United with chairman Levy and director of football Fabio Paratici holding talks with Conte and offering him an 18-month deal with an option to extend.
Conte – who was unveiled as the new boss on Tuesday morning – was the club’s top target to replace Jose Mourinho at the start of the season, but the Italian turned them down, with some reports claiming he was unconvinced by the project and feared he would not be backed in the market.
Antonio Conte insists he rejected Tottenham in the summer because it was too soon after leaving his post at Inter Milan
The Italian had only just won the Serie A title before walking out on his job at the San Siro
The ex-Chelsea boss has been confirmed as Tottenham’s new head coach on an 18-month deal
But the former Chelsea boss has sought to clarify the reports and said it was simply not the right time to begin another coaching job, having only just resigned from his position at the San Siro – where he won the Serie A title.
Conte said it was Levy who played a crucial role in him making a U-turn on his decision, praising his ‘contagious enthusiasm’ to convince him and said he would take on the role with ‘great conviction’.
‘Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching, he told Tottenham’s official website.
Conte hailed Daniel Levy’s involvement in bring him to the club, praising his ‘contagious enthusiasm’ as he promised to work with ‘great conviction’
‘But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.’
Conte will earn £18million on his short-term contract after arriving in north London and said he was excited to work with their impressive training facilities and would attempt to turn them into ‘protagonists’ after years of underachieving.
‘I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again,’ he said, three years after leaving Chelsea.
‘Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.
Conte expressed his excitement to be back in the Premier League and vowed to turn the team into ‘protagonists’
‘I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.’
Paratici – who knows Conte well from their time together at Juventus – said the club had appointed a coach with vast experience and was excited to see him work with the squad.
‘We are delighted to welcome Antonio to the Club,’ he said. ‘His track record speaks for itself, with vast experience and trophies in both Italy and England.
‘I know first-hand the qualities Antonio can bring to us, having worked with him at Juventus, and look forward to seeing his work with our talented group of players.’
He is tasked with transforming a team of underachievers who have already lost five games
Conte has already met the players as attention swiftly turns to Thursday’s Europa Conference League clash with Vitesse. He will be tasked with galvanising the squad after some flat displays under Nuno.
Sportsmail reported on Sunday how Nuno was on the brink of the sack following the disastrous defeat and performance during the 3-0 loss to United on Saturday, the game that sealed his fate.
Sportsmail understands Nuno arrived at the club’s Enfield training ground yesterday morning as normal only to be informed of the club’s decision to remove him.
Nuno is understood to have earned in the region of £3million a year at Spurs and is now due compensation, but he is expected to be placed on gardening leave until he finds a new job.
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