Michael Owen has insisted that anyone can coach a team to play on the counter-attack like Antonio Conte does. 

Tottenham have come in for plenty of criticism for their perceived negative approach so far this season, and the criticism has intensified over recent weeks on the back of the team’s poor results (ESPN FC).

Antonio Conte

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Following his side’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, a game which the Lilywhites dominated during the second half, Conte insisted that he was pleased with his side’s display and opened up on the challenges the team has faced due to injuries to key players (Football.London).

The Tottenham head coach even took a sly dig at Jurgen Klopp, questioning whether the Liverpool boss was happy with how his side played, following the German’s criticism of Spurs’ defensive approach last season (Eurosport).

Owen has become the latest pundit to take aim at Tottenham’s style of play, with the former Liverpool man insisting that it is not hard to coach teams the way Conte does.

He told Premier League Productions (06/11/22 at 7:20 pm): “After years and years of playing football, I think the hardest way to do it is to be brave, bold, is set to your teams to go out and attack, to out possesion and out football people.”

“In all my years of football, counter-attacking and sitting back in numbers is not a hard thing to coach. It’s not a hard thing to play. Just sit back and play. It’s horrid (to play in).

“I hate it. I really hate it when I hear pundits and journalists saying he’s done a great job. Jose Mourinho, he’s outwitted them and it’s a masterclass. And Conte’s way.

“Do you know what? I am sure my ten-year-old daughter can do something with a counter-attacking team. The brilliant coaches are these people, the Pep Guardiola’s of this world, and Jurgen Klopp, they have got a style of play that just blows teams away. I don’t care who you are. 

“When you go to the Etihad, you go to Anfield, and then you are getting whopped. When they are on form, it’s because they are just too good in every department. That is a skill.”

Spurs Web Opinion

These comments are extremely disrespectful to the likes of Mourinho and Conte, and prove once again that pundits have no idea about the nuances of the games that they are watching. 

To simply label Conte’s approach as ‘counter-attacking’ does not do justice to the actual intricacies of his system and the differences between his set-up and that of the likes of Sam Allardyce.

I can understand where this comparison of Mourinho and Conte comes from as both of their teams do not press the opposition high up the pitch when they do not have the ball.

However, there are major differences between how Jose’s and Conte’s sides play when they have the ball, which is clearly lost on ex-players like Owen, who seem to have no understanding of how the game as evolved since they hung up their boots.

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