Danny Murphy has argued that Eddie Howe’s success at Newcastle United proves that Antonio Conte is simply making excuses when he talks about Tottenham not having the players to compete with the best.

Newcastle now look favourites to qualify for the Champions League this season while a top-four finish seems to be slipping away from Tottenham’s grasp – a situation that not many would have foreseen at the start of the season, looking at both the squads.

Newcastle United

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Some reports over recent days have indicated that Conte’s future at Spurs is looking increasingly uncertain on the back of the team’s poor run of form (Daily Mail).

After Tottenham’s 4-2 loss at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, the Spurs head coach hinted that he does not have similar expectations in his current job as he did at Inter Milan or Juventus, owing to the Lilywhites’ predicament (Football.London).

However, Murphy believes that the right manager could get the best out of the current Spurs squad as Howe has done at Newcastle.

The pundit told talkSPORT: “A coach generally at a big club is dealing with egos and man management, more than he is actually coaching. The coaching is still there but it’s easier when you’ve got brilliant players.

“You’ve then got coaches who improve players at a club where you don’t necessarily have the best players, but as a collective like at Newcastle for example, they’re competing because of the coaching and togetherness, like Pochettino did at Tottenham and made that team a unit.

“I think that Conte is used to managing top players at top clubs. He’s dropped down a level, if you like, in terms of the level of player and he’s struggling to improve them.

“If we do a quick comparison of Newcastle with budget and type of player. Newcastle are in the top four with the best defence in the league with a back four of Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier who Tottenham let go, Schar who was a laughing stock 18 months ago when Newcastle were all over the place and they spent about £40million on Sven Botman who has been available for two years because no one took a risk.

“They’ve got Pope in goal who anyone could have got from Burnley at any point and Tottenham didn’t. A bit of cute recruitment and good coaching, Eddie Howe has made them better, but they’re playing with a back four and he’s got them organised with players who are hungry and willing to learn and coached well on the training pitch, you can get results.

“Conte’s thing about needing better players and ‘we can’t compete yet’, that’s just an excuse for not being able to coach them and make them better.”

Spurs Web Opinion

As with any other issue on social media, the argument around the reasons for Tottenham’s struggles has turned into a binary one – Conte’s fault or the board’s fault. In reality, both parties do share some blame, which is not to say they are not equally culpable.

However, the majority of Spurs fans seem to have convinced themselves that Conte can do no wrong and that any failure is purely down to the Italian not being backed. When the likes of Dier and Davies were playing well last season, they purely put it down to Conte improving them but when Son is having his worst season in a Spurs shirt, they do not think the 53-year-old deserves any blame at all.

Murphy is 100 per cent right in saying that there are coaches who would get more out of the current Spurs squad than Conte is at the moment. While Conte is a top coach, the reality is that if Tottenham sack him tomorrow, none of the other top six clubs in the Premier League would hire him.

In fact, it is worth remembering that Man Utd overlooked the Italian despite being in a perilous position and opted for a progressive coach in Erik Ten Hag, which has proven to be the right decision.

All this is not to say that Conte deserves to be sacked. I do want the Italian to be backed and I think he can deliver success if given time. However, it is not in anybody’s interest to pretend that he is some sort of messiah who is doing Spurs a favour by staying here.

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