Manager Antonio Conte has left Tottenham Hotspur by mutual consent after 16 months in charge. Conte called the Spurs players “selfish” and criticised the club’s culture in a remarkable news conference after their recent draw at Southampton.
Tottenham are fourth in the top flight but are out of all cup competitions. Conte’s assistant Cristian Stellini will step up as head coach for the rest of the season, with former midfielder Ryan Mason his deputy.
“We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place,” chairman Daniel Levy said.
“We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our club and amazing, loyal supporters.”
His departure means Spurs are searching for their fourth permanent manager in four years since Mauricio Pochettino left in 2019.
They suffered a tame exit to AC Milan in the Champions League earlier in March, after Championship side Sheffield United knocked them out of the FA Cup at the start of the month.
Italian Conte, who had won league titles with former clubs Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan, was appointed in November 2021 after Spurs sacked Nuno Espirito Santo.
They struggled for consistency for much of his early tenure before a six-game unbeaten run, including a 3-0 win over rivals Arsenal, secured a top four finish.
But Tottenham’s troubles have continued this season with nine defeats and four draws in 28 league games and questions about the playing style.
Conte’s Spurs were loudly booed after the 0-0 draw against Milan which resulted in a 1-0 loss on aggregate and condemned the club to another campaign without a trophy.
His last match in charge saw Tottenham throw away a 3-1 lead to draw at struggling Southampton on 18 March, with Conte launching a furious criticism of his players and the club after the match.
“Tottenham’s story is this: 20 years there is this owner and they never won something. Why?” Conte said.
“Until now I try to hide the situation but not now because, I repeat, I don’t want to see what I have seen today because this is unacceptable and also unacceptable for the fans.”
Tottenham have won one trophy since the ownership group chaired by Levy took over the club in 2001 – the League Cup in 2008 – and have had 11 different managers.
This season has also seen Conte requiring gallbladder surgery in February.
He was absent for a victory over Manchester City on 5 February and, after briefly returning for two matches, missed another four games to focus on his recovery in Italy, with Stellini taking charge in his place.
Three close friends of Conte’s, Spurs fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli, have all died in recent months