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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will want players to ‘spit blood’ till the whistle

A quick online search will throw up numerous examples of the 52-year-old’s fierce determination and what he expects from his players.

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Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been appointed as Tottenham’s new manager (David Davies/PA)

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been appointed as Tottenham’s new manager (David Davies/PA)

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been appointed as Tottenham’s new manager (David Davies/PA)

If any Tottenham players were in any doubt of how things will be under new manager Antonio Conte, it would not take them long to find out.

In this internet age, a quick online search will throw up numerous examples of the 52-year-old’s fierce determination and what he expects from his players in return.

Some of them have helpfully been captured on film, such as the training session ahead of his Juventus side’s trip to Palermo in April 2012, when they were unbeaten in 31 Serie A matches.

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Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte (John Walton/PA)

Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte (John Walton/PA)

Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte (John Walton/PA)

“We’re being praised and that gives me the creeps, because I fear it will make some of you relax,” Conte said, fixing his intense gaze on each one of his players in turn.

“You want to win the title? You’ll have to spit blood right to the very end of the final match of the season.”

Unsurprisingly, Juve duly won in Sicily and soon claimed the title, becoming the first team to go through the season unbeaten since Serie A expanded to 20 teams and 38 rounds.

Then there is the interview Conte did on Sky Sports with former team-mate Thierry Henry, in which Conte revealed how he might deal with players who do not do what he asks of them.

“I always talk about education and respect,” Conte said. “I give this. But I demand this. And if someone doesn’t have a good attitude in training, or good behaviour under different circumstances, I prefer to kill him.”

That might not be exactly what Tottenham’s players want to hear following the timid 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United which cost Nuno Espirito Santo his job after just 17 games in charge, but it will certainly go down better with their fans.

Boos rang around the ground in the 54th minute of the Premier League defeat to United when Lucas Moura was replaced by Steven Bergwijn, followed soon after by chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

That is a charge that will be harder to level at Conte, who has enjoyed a highly-successful managerial career since hanging up his boots following almost 400 games as a midfielder for Lecce, Juventus and the Italian national team.

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Former Italy head coach Antonio Conte (centre) during a training session at the Juventus Stadium (Mike Egerton/PA)

Former Italy head coach Antonio Conte (centre) during a training session at the Juventus Stadium (Mike Egerton/PA)

Former Italy head coach Antonio Conte (centre) during a training session at the Juventus Stadium (Mike Egerton/PA)

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After leading Bari to the Serie B title in 2009, Conte had a brief and unsuccessful spell at Atalanta before securing a second promotion from Serie B with Siena and then landing his dream job at former club Juventus.

Conte led Juve to three straight Serie A titles – despite a four-month touchline ban in 2012 for failure to report alleged match-fixing while at Siena – before leaving under a bitter cloud of resentment, citing his frustration with a lack of action in the transfer market.

A two-year spell in charge of the national side saw Italy reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 before losing to Germany on penalties, with Conte having announced in April that he had signed a three-year contract at Chelsea.

The Premier League was won at the first attempt and the FA Cup the following season, but finishing fifth in the league meant missing out on Champions League qualification and Conte was sacked.

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Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrated with the FA Cup after victory over Manchester United at Wembley (David Davies/PA)

Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrated with the FA Cup after victory over Manchester United at Wembley (David Davies/PA)

Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrated with the FA Cup after victory over Manchester United at Wembley (David Davies/PA)

Another Serie A title would follow with Inter Milan before Conte departed in May by mutual consent, reportedly due to a dispute with the club’s owners over the size of his squad.

Whether Conte will be given money to spend on new players remains to be seen, but his first task will be getting more goals from a side which has plenty of attacking talent in the shape of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, but has so far produced nine goals in 10 Premier League games.

If he can do that, perhaps there will be no need for “killing” any players after all.

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