“Hirings Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte were mistakes” – Daniel Levy

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has admitted that he was wrong to appoint Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte as head coaches in recent years.

After a successful five-and-a-half year spell with Mauricio Pochettino at the helm, Levy brought in Mourinho as head coach in November 2019 with a view for turning Spurs into a team that won trophies instead of just competing for them.

However, Mourinho was unable to end the club’s trophy drought, though did lead them to the Carabao Cup final in 2021 and was sacked a week before the final. In his only full season in charge, Tottenham finished sixth in the Premier League – their lowest return in six years at that point.

Tottenham wanted to appoint Conte as Mourinho’s successor in the summer of 2021 but he claimed that he needed time away from the game having just left Inter. When eventual replacement Nuno Espirito Santo was fired early on in the 2021/22 season, Conte accepted the chance to join Spurs.

Conte managed to steer Tottenham to an unlikely top four finish following a superb second half to his first campaign and expectations were high for the 2022/23 season. However, they were meekly eliminated from all cup competitions and ended up eighth in the Premier League table, with Conte leaving the club in March.

Despite appointing two managers known for sweeping up silverware in a short space of time, Tottenham have still not won a trophy since 2008.

Speaking at a fan forum event on Tuesday night, Levy recognised that it was a ‘mistake’ to appoint managers in the win-now mould of Mourinho and Conte, leading to him appointing current boss Ange Postecoglou back in June.

“I want to win just as much as everybody else. The frustration of not winning and the pressure from maybe some players and a large element of the fan base that we need to win, we need to spend money, we need to have a big manager, a big name. And it affected me,” Levy said.

“I had gone through a period where we’d almost won, with Mauricio we went through some very, very good times. We didn’t quite get there but we came very close, and we had a change of strategy.

“The strategy was let’s bring in a trophy manager and we did it twice. You have to learn by the mistakes.

“They [Mourinho and Conte] are great managers, but maybe not for this club. For what we want, we want to play a certain way and if that means it has to take a little bit longer to win, maybe it’s the right thing for us. And that’s why bringing Ange in was, from my viewpoint, exactly the right decision.”

In an interview with Bloomberg this week, Levy further explained his thoughts on Mourinho and Conte.

“I had a good relationship with both Jose and Antonio. They’re different. And, as I said to my fan forum, I made a mistake,” Levy said.

“They were great managers, they were just not right for this club. The way they want to win is different for how we need to win.

“We’d come so close with Mauricio, who was a great manager and did fantastic things for this football club. And we got frustrated. I think we went through a phase where we said, ‘well, let’s try something different’. And it didn’t work.”

What we know

  • Tottenham stagnated under management of Jose Mourinho and then Antonio Conte
  • Spurs were unable to end trophy drought despite appointing win-now coaches
  • Chairman Daniel Levy has admitted both appointments were wrong for Tottenham
Mourinho and Conte clashed during previous spells in England and Italy.

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