Opinion: The Antonio Conte effect – Changing the fans, not just the players

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Antonio Conte
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Antonio Conte radiates passion and desire. Yesterdays win against Leeds was not perfect and was certainly not what Conte would have wanted. The important thing is the team secured the three points.

We always hear about this ‘Conte effect’ and how he gets the best out of players, pushes them to their limits and will take nothing less than 100% every day he’s at the club.

However, what I think is a very underrated factor of Conte’s managing style is his ability to get 100% out of the fans on each match day.

Yesterday was a game of two halves. The first half was some of the worst football I have seen us play, and that is really saying something after some harrowing defeats against the likes of Arsenal and Crystal Palace.

Whatever was said at halftime worked wonders. The first half we couldn’t keep the ball for more than 30 seconds but in the second half, we looked to keep the ball and progress our attacks down the wings.

Again I will say it wasn’t perfect, we still need to fine-tune our attacking patterns of play and players need to start making better decisions in the final third.

Our woeful first half was highlighted by our fans voicing their displeasure as the players departed towards the tunnel; for what I can only imagine was a terrifying team talk. I thought the booing was unnecessary but I do believe every fan has the right to voice their opinion.

I think people should give Conte and the team time to really implement his style of football. We have to remember both José and Nuno did not focus on the physical side of the game, meaning that over the last couple of years the teams level of fitness has not improved to the point where Conte can play his desired style of football right away.

We, as fans, should stick by the squad in this in a very tough transitional period. They will be going from low block counter-attacking football over to high pressing and aggressive football. In the top level of the game, this transition is going to take a lot of time but most importantly will require a lot of hard work and determination from the players.

This gruelling training regime can be summed up in one interview with our match-winner Sergio Reguilón. In his post-match interview, he claimed he was ‘dead’. This goes to show how much Conte demands of his players (in this case specifically the full-backs) who are not only defenders but in transition going forward act as wingers providing the width.

The team is not going to change overnight and I think we should give them time to adapt. I am certain each one of them will be giving every ounce of energy both on the training pitch and on match days.

We as fans should help them through this period by voicing our support for them on match days. At times it is going to be tough and we are going to want to pull our hair out but I’m positive Conte is going to make all this heartache worth it.

The passion that the crowd showed yesterday after the first and more importantly the second goal hit the back of the net is something I haven’t seen at this club in a long time. I felt a sense of togetherness, a sense of pride in our club something that had been buried away over the last couple of months.

I felt proud to be in that stadium watching the team I love. This is no coincidence either, the orchestrator of this 60,000 strong choir was Antonio Conte. I could feel each and every fan feed off his passion, for 90 minutes he was non stop up and down that touchline commanding his players like a military leader going into battle.

His pure energy and charisma filled the stadium and every fan knew it as well. The fans were starting to feel that famous ‘Conte effect’.

During the last 10 minutes, I saw something I thought had been lost in our players long ago. I saw a burning passion to get these fans alongside them, to have that 12th man pushing them towards the end.

Son was throwing his arms in the air urging on the East Atrium, a roar exploded from the stand and not a second later was the stadium filled with tens of thousands of fans pushing the team towards the all-important points.

Only a few minutes later we saw Antonio Conte make his way towards the edge of the technical area, take one look around the ground and start emphatically urging us to keep going, to keep making the noise that had engulfed the stadium only a minute ago.

He gestured towards every stand individually and seemed to capture each fan’s attention as he went along.

The response was electric, even Bob who sits next to me was on his feet pouring his heart and soul into every single ‘Come On You Spurs’. This is an older gentleman who remains reasonably reserved for most of the 90 minutes, it really showed me what the ‘Conte effect’ really is.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you watch Conte’s reaction to the full-time whistle. In the grand scheme of things, it’s only three points against a weak Leeds side but it seems to him every three points is the difference between life and death. This is what the club has been calling out for, a leader, a man to bring this club out of its slump.

It isn’t just about the bounce the players get, the change in fitness levels, the banning of ketchup. The ‘Conte effect’ is absolutely everything from the players, to the fans, all the way up to the Daniel Levy and the way the club is run as a whole.

The story for Conte and this club is still to be written, but one thing is for sure there is a new fire burning at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It is burning big and bright and can be found in every fans heart, every player, every member of the coaching staff.

I have a sneaky suspicion that if you looked close enough you would also find it tucked away in Daniel Levy.

The Antonio Conte effect is well and truly here…and I could not be more excited for what the future holds in North London.

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