Fresh from winning Serie A with Inter Milan last season, the Italian manager is now tasked with the challenge to bring Tottenham Spurs back to their best.

Tottenham Hotspur's appointment of Antonio Conte as their new manager has generated a huge buzz around the club, for there's no doubting he's one of the premier managers in the world.

Having started the season disappointingly and not clicking into gear under Nuno Espirito Santo, who himself only became boss in the summer, Spurs swiftly made the change following the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Tasked with the job of elevating Spurs back to the upper echelons of European football, just like they were under Mauricio Pochettino, Conte's certainly got a tough assignment ahead. But the ultra-determined, driven and focused Italian will relish the challenge that confronts him.

Fresh from winning Serie A with Inter Milan last season, where his team played with immense cohesion, confidence and efficiency to comfortably claim the club's first league title in 11 years, there's no denying what an exceptional manager he is.

Looking to transfer his success coaching the likes of Juventus, the Italian national team, Chelsea and Inter, it'll be fascinating keeping tabs on how he fares imparting his distinct philosophy onto his new team.

Judging on his outstanding Inter outfit, where he predominantly used a base 3-5-2 formation, it'll be expected he uses that shape or more of a 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 like he did in his Spurs debut vs. Everton (and most notably in the past at Chelsea).

Regardless of the shape he ultimately settles on, he'll quickly want to instill his core ideas onto his new players, as once he gets them in place, there's every reason to suggest Tottenham will be a force to be reckoned with.

Organizing his teams meticulously and so demanding to ensure the players completely grasp his concepts, Conte's proven to be very adept at setting his sides up to be defensively solid.

As he showed with the Nerazzurri, he'll want his team to be aggressive, ferocious in the challenge and know when to press or stay in a compact mid/low block structure.

Set to be more proactive than Nuno's Spurs, the Italian will definitely want to get Tottenham pressing higher and more effectively. While Inter didn't press high all the time, when they did, they did so in a coordinated manner.

Their usual setup would see the front two protect central areas and usher their opponents towards the touchline with angled in-to-out pressure once the ball near center-back was in possession. As the ball near forward pressed, he'd use his cover shadow to block the passing lane behind him while his forward partner typically shifted onto the holding midfielder or kept tabs on the other central defender.

The wingback would usually then step out to the opposing fullback, the midfielders would lock onto their respective opponents, the ball far players would shuffle across to ensure compactness and the central defenders would get touch tight when their markers dropped deep with their back to goal.

Wanting to hem in their adversaries against the touchline to minimize their playing room and limit their options, this tactic regularly saw them directly regain possession or force errors. Responding immediately to get man-oriented once that initial pass went wide before using the sideline as an extra defender, Conte's smartly devised harrying scheme bore fruit on many occasions.

Smartly devised pressing scheme to hem in AC Milan

Conte's team were equally effective when defending in their 5-3-2 mid block, where they'd patiently wait before engaging their opponents. Using a mixed zonal and man-marking scheme, they got their shifting mechanisms spot on to make sure central areas were hard to access while still having wide coverage due to their last line of five.

So well drilled in this phase, it was so impressive how well everyone would perform their roles and all be on the same page. Astute at analyzing opponents, this ensured Conte could advise his players of certain pressing triggers to be alert to such as a back pass, a pass into wide areas, if an opponent dropped deep with their back to goal or if a certain player or area was to be targeted.

The example below from their memorable 3-0 derby win over rivals AC Milan offered a testament to Conte's team's excellent mid block defending. To start with, the forwards were oriented towards Milan's two center-backs while intelligently screening the holding midfielders. Once the ball was played out to either fullback, the wide central midfielders would diagonally press them as the other two mids shuttled across to cover the center.

Coordinated mid block pressing
Fine example of their mid block pressing and how they shift and use cover shadows

The wingbacks would then mark their nearby winger and the center-backs would keep tabs on the forwards and runners from midfield, with a strong desire to press hard when their man dropped so they had no time or space to turn.

Enjoying good cover to deal with runners and plug holes due to the numerical superiority their back five gave them, in combination with their ability to cover the width of the box and how the mids would track back to offer support, enhanced their solidity.

Handling crosses from wide, managing opponents both in front of and behind their last line, covering dangerous spaces so well and reading situations rapidly, his disciplined Inter proved difficult to break down.

As a result of their organization and close connections to one another due to their compactness, Inter were superbly placed to counter attack once they regained possession. Boasting Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez as two excellent initial outlets to drive with the ball or occupy defenders before laying the ball off, they'd then be joined by Nicolo Barella streaming from midfield and the barnstorming wingbacks. Putting unset, backpedaling backlines under so much pressure and running quality routes across the pitch, Inter were a truly formidable weapon in transition.

Blistering transition as they generate an ideal 3v3
Electric counter attack as they have multiple runners to give the ball holder many options and unsettle their foes

Some numbers of note defensively arose from the fact they conceded the least goals (35), gave up the second least shots (8.56 per 90) and were fourth for aerial duel success rate (51.3%) in Serie A last term. Moreover, their comfort in their mid block was depicted by the stats that state they only rated sixteenth for PPDA (14.92) and 20th for challenge intensity (4.9).

Meanwhile, on the attacking end, there was plenty to admire about Conte's Inter too, as he shrewdly got the best out of his troops in a season where they scored 89 Serie A goals.

Preferring to build out from the back whenever possible, he devised some neat tactics to bypass their foes. On top of building with the back three, he'd mix things up by pushing a center-back next to the holding midfielder, Marcelo Brozovic, and pushing one of the wide center-backs to the flank in an auxiliary full back role to add some asymmetry.

In doing so, this saw his team manufacture overloads in key areas and cause dilemmas for opposition pressing structures, which often led to Inter progressing smoothly up the pitch. Doing a top job of stretching the pitch horizontally and vertically with their wingbacks and two forwards respectively, adversaries were persistently posed with questions on how to stop them, as Inter took advantage of any weaknesses.

Finding the free man in build up before surging upfield to score
Barella expertly finding space to beat the press

Providing width and depth, their free flowing wingbacks, such as Achraf Hakimi and Ivan Perisic, were key to their plans. Giving them a super outlet, always available for switches so they could be isolated and offering a massive goal threat with their out-to-in blindside runs into the box, they were a huge asset.

Image 8 - Quality blindside run into the box from Perisic
Image 9 - Super switch to the free fullback after drawing AC to the near side

The way they'd draw markers out in build up deserves mention as well, for this would subsequently open space down the channels for the forwards to run into.

Image 10 - Wingback drawing out the fullback to create space in the channel
Image 11 - Lukaku embarking on a shrewd run down the channel generated by the wingback

Having players so comfortable on the ball when placed under duress when passing out in the form of defenders Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni, plus midfielders Brozovic, Christian Eriksen, Stefano Sensi and Barella, certainly helped in their quest to beat the press. The strong ball carrying of the outside center-halves was valuable in unbalancing defensive units, with their surges seeing them gain territory, lure out opponents and allow them to burst forward into the final third or overlap to place extra stress on their opponents.

Using principles like the third man and the up back through, Conte drilled these into his players so they became automatic. Knowing where to position themselves, where their teammates would be and the specific runs they'd make, allowed them to disorganize their foes and then carve them open.

The fact everyone knew their responsibilities distinctly usually meant the ball holder had multiple passing angles and options available, thus helping them keep venturing through the thirds and gain vital control. Moreover, these sound offensive connections notably helped them counter press immediately after they lost possession too.

Quickly able to apply pressure from their rest defense, they could swiftly pounce on the ball holder and nearby outlets to regain the ball high up so they could attack again, knowing they were solidly positioned even if the opposition did break through their wave of gegenpressing.

Clearly working meticulously on the training ground, Inter's array of rotations was another avenue in which they unbalanced opponents. Whether it was center-backs rotating with wingbacks, wingbacks swapping with nearby central midfielders, defenders interchanging with midfielders or the strikers smartly switching, they executed these movements coherently.

Image 12 - Slick rotation between Barella and Hakimi

How they used opposite movements, where one player would drop deep to make room for another to run in behind, offered extra upside. Commonly seen with the Lukaku and Lautaro partnership, these dynamics were efficient at unlocking defenses by exploiting the gaps conjured between defenders.

Image 13 - Lautaro making room for Lukaku to run in behind

The above duo also shone at pinning and occupying defenders to produce openings, plus when dynamically cutting across each other with runs to lose markers.

Image 14 - Lukaku pinning two markers to open up room Lautaro

Barella's role warrants praise as well, for he relished getting forward to receive in dangerous areas in and around the final third and between the lines to add an extra threat to assist or score. A master at finding space, forming overloads in wide areas especially before firing in crisp deliveries into the box and full of running power, there was no doubting what a key piece of Conte's puzzle he was.

By the numbers offensively last season in Serie A, Inter ranked second for goals (89), second for Expected Goals (82.59), second for key passes (4.82 p90), second for deep completions (11.11 p90), third for touches in the penalty area (22.56 p90), fourth for shots (12.99 per 90) and fourth for crosses (15.24 p90), which displayed their class.

Able to dictate and control their enemies both with and without possession due to Conte's tactically sophisticated approach, winning the title was the perfect reward for their remarkable campaign.

"This victory was born two years ago when Conte and his staff first walked into our training center. They brought a top-notch working culture and began transmitting the correct mindset," said Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti.

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta then added: "The gap with the previous champions was considerable. We fully deserved Scudetto, we did not win simply because of the other teams’ demerits. We have kept a remarkable pace. We left everybody behind, not just Juventus.”

“The majority of the credit goes to Conte, he himself called it a work of art, and I agree. He was a winner as a player, he has important values and knows how to convey them. Dedication, the right mentality and leadership. He was a true reference point in the locker room because we did not have any player that had won before besides Arturo Vidal.”

While it won't be easy and it'll take some time, I'd take a brave man to bet against Conte transforming Tottenham into an elite outfit once again. Considering he has a talented squad at his disposal and one that's worked under many managers with different styles, he'll be hoping Spurs' players can adapt quickly to his proven methods. "He has a great personality, great ideas about football,” explained Tottenham’s captain Hugo Lloris.

“He will bring his passion, energy and knowledge of football. We are here to work and deliver the best every day. Bring intensity into our training sessions. Bring focus 100 percent every day in every single session and he will help us to deliver better performances in the competitions.”

Reportedly already stamping his mark on his new team and asserting that Tottenham's squad needs to get fitter, adopt better dietary habits and improve mentally, it'll be captivating monitoring Spurs' progress.

Notoriously hard on his players and relentless in his desire to get his players adhering to his philosophy, bringing in Conte should be the catalyst Spurs need to get back on track.

Having not won a trophy in 13 years and desperate to claim some silverware, Tottenham have picked the best man for the job to power them to glory. It might not happen overnight, but his insatiable appetite for winning and competence in so many areas of management should see Spurs achieve their aim in the not too distant future.

He's that good.

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