Jonathan Woodgate reviews what Conte has done with the Tottenham centre-backs

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Antonio Conte
(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Jonathan Woodgate has praised the job Antonio Conte has done at Tottenham, insisting the Italian has got the fans onside, something that has not been the case since Mauricio Pochettino left.

Woodgate was part of the Spurs side that last won a trophy, with the centre-back heading home the winner in extra time to help the Lilywhites beat Chelsea in the League Cup final in 2008.

It seemed like Tottenham were on the cusp of challenging for major honours at the time under Juande Ramos but it proved to be a false dawn – something that Spurs fans are all too familiar with.

Tottenham have come on leaps and bounds both on and off the pitch since Woodgate’s time at the club but they have fallen short at the final hurdle repeatedly in their quest to win silverware.

Woodgate admitted that Spurs should have won big trophies under Pochettino but insisted that Conte could make the club a force in the Premier League once again.

The former Tottenham centre-back told The Daily Mail: “Now you’ve got a world-class manager in Conte. He will hopefully bring Spurs trophies. Pochettino did an incredible job when he was there.

“To get to the Champions League final. He finished second one year, third place behind Leicester – that could have been their opportunity. Pochettino was brilliant with a young aggressive team led by Kane. But they should have won trophies, they should have.

“Consistency wins you titles. It doesn’t win you cups because you can play good in the third round and not so well in the fourth round and still go through. In the league, you need to be solid every game.

“Spurs have just finished fourth so they’ve done really well. When Conte first came in I didn’t think they could do it but he’s done a magnificent job. I think they’ve had a really good season.”

Woodgate opined that Conte has improved all of Tottenham’s defenders since he walked through the door in November of last year, insisting that the 52-year-old has brought back a feel-good factor, which was missing under Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo.

The former Middlesbrough boss added: “I like Romero, I watched him quite a bit when he was at Atalanta. He’s a front-foot defender, he’s aggressive. I like his authority.

“Him and Dier – then you’ve got Ben Davies on the left side, it brings good balance. Conte’s improved that three so much since the start of the season.

“What Conte’s done since he’s come in is get the fans right back on side. It’s only since Pochettino that the fans have really been onside with a manager.

“I think what he’s done with the formation is kept to a settled side. The two wing-backs he has changed often, but he’s kept the same players and beliefs and he’s done really well.”

Spurs Web Opinion

As Woodgate points out, there is an element of luck involved in winning cup competitions as it is about being better on the day, particularly in the later stages.

So, I believe managers should be judged by the team’s performances in the league. However, having said that, Conte will desperately want to win the League Cup or FA Cup next season just to get that monkey off the club’s back.

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