By George Sessions, PA
Antonio Conte has thanked Tottenham fans and those who shared his “passion” after his exit.
The Italian left Spurs by mutual consent on Sunday after 16 months in charge.
His departure came after he labelled his players ‘selfish’ after they lost a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 at Southampton earlier this month.
He wrote on Instagram: “Football is a passion. I would like to deeply thank everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion and my intense way of living football as a coach.
“A special thought to the fans who always showed me support and appreciation, it’s been unforgettable to hear them singing my name. Our journey together has ended, I wish you all the best for the future.”
Acting head coach Cristian Stellini was promoted from assistant following the departure of long-term confidant Conte.
Stellini had worked as Conte’s number two at Juventus and Inter Milan but has remained at the north London club and will be supported by Ryan Mason.
Conte’s brother Gianluca, who was a technical and analytics coach at Spurs, has departed alongside his sibling.
Meanwhile, Emerson Royal has added to Tottenham’s growing injury list, with the defender set for surgery on his knee.
The full-back suffered the issue during the closing stages of Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to Morocco on Saturday and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, the PA news agency understands.
Emerson will have surgery on Tuesday and faces a race against time to feature again for Spurs this season, with the Premier League due to finish on May 28.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 26, 2023
It is the latest blow for Tottenham with Stellini faced with a lengthy list of absentees ahead of Monday’s trip to Everton.
Both Ben Davies and Richarlison suffered muscle problems in the dramatic draw at Southampton on March 18 and the Wales defender has been ruled out until May with a hamstring issue.
Richarlison’s injury is not as severe but he will miss out on an emotional Goodison Park return and target being back in action later in April.
Wing-back Ryan Sessegnon and captain Hugo Lloris have been out while Rodrigo Bentancur (knee) and Yves Bissouma (ankle) remain long-term absentees.
Inconsistency has blighted Tottenham’s progress this season and recent FA Cup and Champions League exits contributed towards Conte’s departure.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust has urged the board to be transparent about their strategy, with this Spurs’ fourth consecutive campaign in which the club have changed manager.
“This departure will come as no surprise to Spurs fans,” a statement from the Supporters’ Trust read.
“The club’s board must now have a clear strategy for what and who comes next and it needs to tell this club’s supporters what that plan is. THST has repeatedly called for this and fans deserve it.
“Less than two years ago, at the end of the 2020/21 season in May, chairman Daniel Levy told supporters the club would focus on the recruitment of a head coach, saying they were ‘acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great club and a return to playing football with the style for which we are known’.
“Many supporters will feel the appointments of Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte following Jose Mourinho’s spell do not reflect the promises made above.
“In the same statement, Mr Levy said: ‘I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA’.
“As another season without silverware comes to an end, we would urge the club board to reassess those priorities before appointing a manager the entire fanbase will get behind and building a team that can truly challenge for domestic and European honours, respecting the traditions of our football club.”