By Jonathan Veal, PA
Antonio Conte has vowed to “do everything” to deserve the fans’ support after becoming Tottenham’s new head coach.
The Italian was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor on Tuesday, signing an initial 18-month contract, with the option of an extra year.
Conte, who won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2016-17 ahead of Spurs, had been out of work since leaving Inter Milan at the end of last summer, having just won the Scudetto.
He observed training on Tuesday afternoon and should be in charge of Thursday’s Europa Conference League match with Vitesse Arnhem, providing his work permit comes through in time.
The Italian is expected to face the media later in the week, but gave a short message to supporters on the club’s social media channels on Tuesday night.
He said: “My message to our fans is only one, I will do everything to deserve their support.”
Conte had previously been in advanced talks with Spurs in June about becoming Jose Mourinho’s successor, but they broke down after the two parties were at odds over key issues.
However, managing director Fabio Paratici is now in position at the Premier League club and has a strong relationship with the 52-year-old, having worked with him at Juventus.
And those differences have now been overcome, with chairman Daniel Levy looking to the serial winner to turn Spurs back into a force in English football.
Conte brushed over June’s conflict, suggesting that negotiations came too soon after his San Siro exit for him to commit to the project.
“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching,” he said on the club’s website.
“But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.
“I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again,” Conte told the club website.
“Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.
“I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.”
Nuno was relieved of his duties after Levy and Paratici met on Sunday to discuss his future, with the news delivered early on Monday morning.
The Portuguese was a condemned man following Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Manchester United, when fans chanted ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ and roundly booed him at full time.
Spurs have lost five of the last seven Premier League games and have gone two hours and 16 minutes without having a shot on goal.
Conte inherits a team in ninth position in the table, five points off the top four after 10 games.
He becomes the fourth manager to cross the divide between Stamford Bridge and north London, following Glenn Hoddle, Andre Villas-Boas and Mourinho in managing both clubs.
Paratici said: “We are delighted to welcome Antonio to the club. His track record speaks for itself, with vast experience and trophies in both Italy and England.
“I know first-hand the qualities Antonio can bring to us, having worked with him at Juventus, and look forward to seeing his work with our talented group of players.”
Spurs said an update on Conte’s coaching staff will follow in due course while Paratici, the man who persuaded Levy to hire Nuno, will hold a press conference on Wednesday to preview the Arnhem tie.