Nuno Espírito Santo has been sacked by Tottenham less than five months after being appointed as head coach.
Spurs are eighth in the Premier League and 10 points off leaders Chelsea after a resounding 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.
Nuno, 47, signed a two-year contract in June following a long-drawn-out search to find Jose Mourinho’s successor, with his tenure lasting only 124 days and a total of a mere 17 games.
The departure of Nuno, who left Wolves in May after four seasons in charge, means Tottenham are looking for their fourth permanent manager in the last three years.
“It very much felt like either Ole or Nuno was going to face the sack from that Tottenham versus Man United game and the Spurs boss was the one on the chopping block in the end.
“I’m excited to see Tottenham start afresh again, but I also feel sorry for Nuno. He was dealt a bad hand and there was no way for him to win from that scenario.
“He wasn’t the right person for the job, but that was not his fault.
“But, the combination of Nuno being sacked and Conte being linked has the fanbase buzzing this morning.
“I think most people wanted Conte or Pochettino in the summer, so if we could finally get one of them over the line it would be a huge step in the right direction.
“The fans find it somewhat comforting that their voices have finally been heard after the booing and chanting against Manchester United. Things were not working, and the fans wanted change.
“Everyone is in rather high spirits at the moment.”
Spurs, who were booed off following the 3-0 home loss to United, started the season strongly and after winning their first league three matches, Nuno was named Premier League manager of the month for August.
However, the results started to suffer. Despite wins over Aston Villa and Newcastle in October, there were defeats by Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and Crystal Palace, as well as a Europa Conference League loss at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
“Manager of the Month in his first month. Three wins. Three clean sheets. Top of the league. But, even from those three games, the warning signs were there.
“Spurs struggled to create, won by one goal to nil each time and only really got the results through some great last-ditch defending a misses from the opposition.
“It was impressive but it was not sustainable for Nuno. I think the four straight London derby defeats was really the turning point in terms of the fans losing faith.
“Losing heavily to Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal, then a defeat to West Ham, it just wasn’t happening for Nuno at Spurs.”
The Portuguese leaves north London with a record of eight wins, two draws and seven defeats in all competitions.
To make his job tougher, he also had to handle the summer transfer saga involving captain Harry Kane who remains at Spurs despite attempts from Manchester City to sign him last August.
So what does Seb believe Nuno’s legacy will be at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?
“I don’t think there is much of a legacy to look back on,” he says.
“I’m sure few Spurs fans will look back fondly on his time in charge and Nuno himself probably won’t include it in his highlight reel.
“It was, from the start, a mistake that was inevitably going to lead to an early sacking.
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit you got it wrong. The earlier you do that, the better.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily about Nuno falling short of expectations. It’s more the board realising they made a mistake.
“Nuno was the wrong man at the wrong time. I think Paratici really liked him, and a number of other targets turned Tottenham down, so it was very much a marriage of convenience.
“Unfortunately, he was never going to be much more than a stopgap and I imagine the availability of Antonio Conte went someway to deciding Nuno’s fate.”
Former Chelsea boss Conte, who Spurs targeted before appointing Nuno in the summer, will fly into London for talks with the north London club on Monday, according to Sky in Italy.
Talks between Tottenham and the Italian, who has been out of work since leaving Inter Milan in the summer, are already well advanced, with negotiations understood to be in their final stages.
Spurs negotiated with Conte following Jose Mourinho’s exit in April but opted not to do a deal amid concern over the Italian’s demands.
“Conte is the one for me,” reveals Seb.
“He is the biggest name we can attract at the moment. I’m not really sure how we have managed to interest him, to be honest.
“We are punching above our weight there. He won Serie A last year, he has won the Premier League and he hates Chelsea. What more could we want?
“I’m looking forward to seeing his 3-5-2 formation play out, perhaps with Reguilon thriving at wing-back and Kane and Son up front together.
“If Tottenham do get Conte as it begs the question, why didn’t we get that deal done in the summer?”
“We could have had an extra four months of work under Conte, while sparing the fans, players, and Nuno a whole lot of pain.
“I am happy they have acted swiftly, but they need to stop making mistakes in the first place.
“Whoever comes in, Spurs fans want to see excitement again, paired up with some evidence that we are heading in the right direction.
“They want to see passion and desire. They want to see attacking football. They want to see high-pressing.
“They want to reconnect with their beloved club, which has not happened since Pochettino left.”
Leave a comment
Follow Matthewjcrist on Twitter