Tottenham chief Daniel Levy may take Antonio Conte action this week
Wolves V Tottenham: Pictures
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It was as Tottenham’s supporters were heading for the exits at Molineux following the dismal 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Saturday that they made their feelings perfectly clear. “He’s magic, you know, Mauricio Pochettino”, sang a relatively large number of fed-up fans as they prepared themselves for another miserable trip back down to London. And if Spurs follow this latest turgid loss with another one to AC Milan on Wednesday, those supporters may well get their wish sooner rather than later.
Despite still being in a half-decent position in the Premier League, with a top four finish very much possible, all is not well at Spurs. It has been a season of dull, pedestrian football, and the team have been wildly inconsistent from the get-go, with manager Antonio Conte’s stubbornness in sticking to a rigid three-at-the-back system leaving many frustrated.
A glimmer of hope came via the FA Cup, especially with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool being knocked out leaving the famous old competition wide open. But the pathetic 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United last week ended that dream, and for many Spurs fans it was possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Champions League qualification is no longer enough to keep the north London faithful satisfied, and they are desperate for any kind of silverware. Therefore, if they are knocked out of Europe’s elite competition on Wednesday many will see it as effectively the end of the season – and the atmosphere could well turn toxic.
Conte himself will be back in the dugout following a spell in Italy to recover from gallbladder surgery. Whether his presence is enough to inspire the team remains to be seen, but there increasingly appears to be a shadow looming large over him in Pochettino.
The popular Argentinean is still out of work following his departure from PSG, and seems to be spending most of his time hanging around north London, with the 51-year-old sharing pictures of him playing golf with Spurs legend Ossie Ardiles.
There have been strong rumours that he could make an emotional return to Tottenham in the summer, with Conte looking increasingly likely to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.
But if the Lilywhites do go out of the Champions League to Milan, surely it would make most sense for all parties to get Pochettino in sooner rather than later?
There would seem no point in Conte and his side limping towards the end with the knowledge that their relationship will be terminated in little more than three months.
Instead, the charismatic Pochettino could come in, give everybody a lift, get to know the squad he has inherited, get the fans dreaming again and, at the very least, perhaps provide some entertaining football on the pitch.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy must know that he is far from the most popular figure among the fanbase at the moment, with his level of approval probably the lowest it has ever been in the 20 or so years that he has been at the helm.
Getting Pochettino back would at least calm down the tide of discontent heading in his direction – for a little while, anyway.
All eyes will be on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday to see if this team have any fire left in the belly to fight to keep Conte in the hotseat.
But if they don’t, Pochettino may well end up checking his mobile on a more regular basis than usual.
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