- Antonio Conte says Tottenham needs more time to establish itself as a major force in Europe after their Champions League round of 16 exit to AC Milan.
- Tottenham’s 15-year trophy drought continues after their FA Cup defeat and European elimination, leaving fans restless.
- AC Milan secured a quarter-final spot for the first time since 2012 as Tottenham was ineffective in attack and ended the game with 10 men.
Following Wednesday’s 0-0 draw and 1-0 defeat to AC Milan in the Champions League’s round of 16, Antonio Conte claimed that Tottenham still needs more time to establish itself as a major force in Europe. The FA Cup defeat and subsequent European elimination means that Spurs’ 15-year trophy drought will continue for at least another season. Tottenham was ineffective in attack and had to play the final 12 minutes with a man down when Cristian Romero was sent off for two bookable offences, so Conte’s return to the sidelines failed to spur a response from his team.
Conte expressed his regret for the fans, but emphasized that a win cannot be invented or expected as a miraculous event. He urged the need to build a team and exercise patience as Tottenham’s recent lack of success has left the fans restless.
Milan’s two-legged victory over Tottenham has secured their spot in the quarter-finals, which is the first time since 2012. Olivier Giroud, Milan’s striker, commented that they deserved the result and could have scored more. He commended the team’s display of quality and spirit and believed that they could have won by a larger margin.
The match started late by 10 minutes due to traffic congestion caused by the delayed arrival of both teams. Despite this, it took much longer for the contest to gain momentum.
Antonio Conte, who had recently undergone gallbladder surgery, returned as the head coach for the match. He displayed his usual lively and enthusiastic personality, but his protestations against a booking for Clement Lenglet resulted in him receiving a yellow card from referee Clement Turpin.
However, Tottenham’s players failed to match their coach’s energy, and the team was unable to rise to the occasion, resulting in a lackluster performance.
Tottenham’s recent form has been poor, with only two wins in their last seven games, including a defeat to second-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup.
Antonio Conte’s contract as coach expires at the end of the season, and he did not dispel rumors that he may leave the club. He stated that there is a need for time and patience as the club lacks a solid foundation to be competitive and win. Although he has a good relationship with the club’s chairman and sporting director, he will make a decision about his future at the end of the season.
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Despite profligate finishing by Milan, Tottenham’s fate was sealed as Brahim Diaz scored the only goal of the tie, and Spurs failed to produce a response. Their only chance came in the 65th minute when Mike Maignan saved Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s strike.
Conte gambled by switching to a front four for the final 20 minutes, but Harry Kane’s only chance came in stoppage time when his header was saved by Maignan. Tottenham’s misery was compounded when Romero was sent off for a third time in his Spurs career, leaving them with ten men.
Although Sandro Tonali and Divock Origi wasted chances for Milan, their seven-time European champions held on to reach the quarter-finals, ending over a decade of waiting.