Nuno Espirito Santo has had a rollercoaster start to the season since his move to north London in the summer, and things still aren’t where fans would’ve hoped.
After winning his first three games in charge, he couldn’t have asked for much more and it was hoped the success would continue. However, it swiftly went downhill and Tottenham lost their next three Premier League games in derbies against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal.
After their most recent fixture ended in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, the Lilywhites sit eighth in the league going into the second international break of the season.
Spurs have won one and drawn one of their Europa Conference League group games and progressed in the Carabao Cup, after beating Wolves on penalties.
After Ryan Mason’s time as interim manager came to an end at the end of the 2020/21 season, the hunt for a new manager continued.
In May, chairman Daniel Levy published a statement to fans about what he would be looking for when hiring a new boss for the Tottenham squad.
“We shall focus on the recruitment of a new Head Coach,” he said. “We are acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great Club and return to playing football with the style for which we are known – free-flowing, attacking and entertaining – whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish from our Academy alongside experienced talent.”
This summer recruitment started in June, when Fabio Paratici was hired as the managing director. He had left Juventus the previous month.
Paratici came to north London just in time for the transfer window and only had to wait a couple of weeks before the Portuguese head coach was also recruited.
When Espirito Santo was at Wolves, he opted for a 3-4-3 formation with an aim to keep a compact defence and also have chances to move further up the pitch.
Since coming to N17, he opted for a 4-3-3 formation, until Tottenham’s most recent match where he changed to a 4-2-3-1 and many fans welcomed the rotation.
Espirito Santo appeared to be quite far down the list of names linked with taking over at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a list which included Antonio Conte and Graham Potter, and wasn’t many fans first choice.
Taking a more defensive stance to his game, shown when he played three defensive midfielders against Crystal Palace, some fans have been concerned that he isn’t yet showing the “free-flowing, attacking and entertaining” football Levy promised.
Despite this, Tottenham have some chances to win silverware, albeit not the first choice competitions to win, and it is still early on in the Portuguese head coach’s time at Spurs.
Paratici and Levy will have hired him because they thought he was a good match for the Lilywhites and it may take some time for him to settle in – as it did with Mauricio Pochettino.
The 47-year-old came to the club during the uncertainty around the likes of Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele during the transfer window and then had a hugely unlucky international break which ended with a number of injured players and the South American trio having to isolate before their return.
The recent victory over Dean Smith’s Villa showed a lot more of this attacking football with some great spells of link-up play, quick passing and it was one of – if not the best and probably most entertaining – game of the season so far.
This could be the start of Espirito Santo finding his feet and figuring out his strongest team, to ensure he can fulfil what the fans expect and what the men above him want.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Man United have all found success in their starts to the season and Everton and Brighton are both level on points with the latter two, going into the international break.
Although Spurs are currently only two points off the top four in the league, their inconsistency makes it difficult to see them taking one of those four spots.
Silverware elsewhere could come from the Europa Conference League, Carabao Cup or FA Cup.
Tottenham face Burnley away in their round of 16 fixture for the Carabao Cup. They will play their first FA Cup game at the beginning of next year and are currently top of their Europa Conference League table.
Winning the FA Cup or Europa Conference League will gain them qualification for the Europa League next season, as well as the silverware which would end their 13-year trophy drought.
It would seem that Espirito Santo is trying to make his Tottenham side as successful as possible in the league whilst giving them every chance to win one of the other competitions they are partaking in.
Some fans have now looked above the Portuguese head coach and directed their anger of Tottenham’s recent form to the likes of Levy. Therefore, both Levy and Paratici will hope the new Spurs boss can fulfil the club’s aims and not make them regret hiring him, for his sake and theirs.
Source by Football London