Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Former Arsenal star sends severe Antonio Conte warning to Tottenham players

Rob McCarthy
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte and assistant Cristian Stellini, November 2021

Arsenal legend Cesc Fabregas has sent a warning to Tottenham’s players over the management style of his old Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.

Fabregas played under the volatile Italian for two years at Stamford Bridge, during which time the club won the Premier League title and FA Cup. After being sacked by Chelsea in 2018, Conte took over at Inter Milan – guiding the Italian giants to their first title in more than a decade in just his second season.

However, he now finds himself at Spurs, after penning an initial 18-month deal in early November.

Fabregas praised the initial appointment but has now lifted the lid on exactly what it was like to play for Conte and what the Tottenham players can expect, now that the dust has settled on his arrival.

He told CBS Sports: “I think with Antonio, it was the first time that I’ve seen someone know exactly [what they want] … It was like going to school. I promise you, he will tell you, from the goalkeeper until you have scored a goal, what you have to do, exactly everything.

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“Maybe it’s in a different way to how I saw football. At the beginning, it was difficult for me, don’t get me wrong. A lot of running, a lot of intensity. Big sessions, double sessions, gym sessions.

“I had coaches like Pep [Guardiola] who had a lot of positioning game but we had freedom inside of this. With Conte, the freedom was non-existent, he was telling me where I have to pass the ball.


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“I’m 29 years old in that moment, I’ve already played for 13 years, I played in every final, I won a lot of things and this guy is telling me where I need to pass the ball.

“I’ve been here a long time, I know everyone and people know me which probably makes people feel a little bit more comfortable in that sense. But the boss and the coaching staff that he’s brought along are top, top people, really professional and hard-working and I’m sure even if I wasn’t here, it would be no different.

“That winning mentality is contagious – you get sucked into it, you live and breathe in the same way.

“The boss is an ex-player who’s won everything, he’s had a successful career as a player, won many trophies and also in recent years he’s won trophies as a manager as well. So that winning mentality that he has and that way that he wants to compete every day. Of course I can get on board with that and hopefully that will help everyone to make it a successful time for the football club.”

READ MORE: Conte told three Tottenham stars he must address to avoid Harry Kane issue