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Conte at a crossroads as AC Milan extend Tottenham’s trophy drought

SportsFootballConte at a crossroads as AC Milan extend Tottenham's trophy drought
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London — Tottenham Hotspur crashed on Champions League In the last-16 stage on Wednesday as a defender christian romero was sent to a 0-0 draw Together AC Milan,

Spurs needed to overcome a 1–0 first leg deficit, but lost on aggregate by that scoreline after a dismal performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in which they had just two shots on target. Romero tripped Rafael Leao to earn his first yellow card inside the opening 20 minutes and was sent off 12 minutes from the end for a reckless lunge. theo hernandez,

, Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)
, Champions League knockout round draw: Full details

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in pause time, harry kane forced match goalkeeper mike mignon Moments before the substitute put in his best save of the evening with a header from Son Heung-min’s free kick Divock Origin Hit a post at the other end.

While Milan can celebrate reaching the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 2011-12, Spurs are left to dish out another trophyless season, which could be a threat to head coach Antonio Conte’s future. But will increase the speculation.

Swift response

1. Conte’s future is at a crossroads

Antonio Conte said he would “transmit his energy into the team” after returning to the Tottenham dugout after gallbladder surgery who put her In Italy for most of February. Either he failed to do so in a disastrous way that triggered a major rethink or he had nothing left to deliver. Spurs were knocked out of the Champions League by barely a whimper here, a dour 0-0 draw that will only raise questions over the future of their manager, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

There was a foul smell at both half-time and full-time. It was not a daring, heroic exit from Europe, but a humble surrender that left Conte’s side looking flat, tired and flawed. Spurs have often been passive in their matches before finding themselves trampled in the second half and although there has been little improvement here, the collective lack of urgency was nothing short of overwhelming given the stakes in the game. Some frank conversation ensues.

There’s a top-four race to focus on – Spurs currently have a narrow advantage liverpool – But this is a club at a crossroads. They need clarity soon to plan for the summer and beyond, with or without Conte. The fans gave their clearest verdict ever. Some booed at half-time, more disgruntled as Conte changed Dejan Kulusevski For davinson sanchez Late but the majority showed their anger at the final whistle.

2. Tottenham’s trophy drought continues

The last time Tottenham won a trophy, George W Bush was US President, Lehman Brothers hadn’t gone bust and the first iPhone had been on sale for less than a year. That League Cup win in 2008 is a distant memory for so many Spurs supporters, who know that their team play in one of the best stadiums in the world and train in one of the best centers around, yet For this one is unable to win any silverware.

Conte was somewhat compromised in hiring Conte given Tottenham’s desire to win with a rampant style for which the Italian is not renowned, but he felt it was justified given his undeniably impressive winning record. It was a price worth paying. Yet he is caught in the same cyclical failure that has dogged Tottenham for 15 years; For all their progress under Mauricio Pochettino despite keeping England Captain Harry Kane followed up and surpassed Jimmy Greaves’ all-time club record goal tally, he could not net the final goal of the trophy-winning game.

There are wider issues that precede Conte, notably the accusation by several owners at ENIC and chairman Daniel Levy that they have not invested enough in the team to compete with their rivals. And it’s a debate that will resurface in earnest now that they’ve subsided for another year.

3. Pioli achieves another Milan milestone

Stefano Pioli has struggled to recreate the consistency of last season which saw AC Milan record their first win serie a title in 11 years they are currently fifth in the table 18 points behind the leaders napoli and are facing a scrap to qualify for next year’s Champions League. However, he can now point to reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in the competition since 2012, a feat that should ease the pressure on the 57-year-old for at least the next few weeks.

Milan, the seven-time European Cup winners, played with an authority that matched their history in this competition, rarely looking troubled apart from in the last 10 minutes when the pace of the game got a little more frantic as Spurs took the lead at the end. Took some risks. Last season, Pioli’s team finished bottom of the group with Liverpool, Atletico Madrid And FC Porto, Now they can position their side as one of the best eight teams in Europe.

best and worst performers

Best: brahim diazFamily Welfare, AC Milan.
Gave Milan composure and possession, scoring around six minutes into the second half with a low shot well saved fraser foster,

Best: rafael leoFamily Welfare, AC Milan.
He didn’t have his most dominant night in the final third but Spurs were intimidating throughout with his pace.

Best: fikayo tomoriDF, AC Milan.
Marshalled the backline brilliantly, winning all three tackles and gaining possession eight times (only teammate Theo Hernandez managed more on either side).

Bad: Cristian Romero, DF, Tottenham.
Sent off for two wild challenges. Possibly the first player sent off lying in the opponent’s technical area.

worst: Son Hyung-minFW, Tottenham.
There were only 38 sixes, the fewest of any Spurs outfield player in the last 90 minutes. Recorded one shot in the winning game.

worst: Ivan PerisicMF, Tottenham.
Completing only nine of his 14 passes in an ineffective performance before being substituted on 53 minutes.

Highlights and Notable Moments

The best sequence of the game came in the final period of stoppage time when Harry Kane forced AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Megnon into a daring save, moments before Divock Origi’s shot rattled the woodwork at the other end.

What did the manager and players say after the match

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte on the game, for BT Sport: “It’s the third game in a row that we weren’t able to score. I think the game was in balance. I think we can do better offensively. I talk about the whole team, not just Only about those who play in the front half.” We can do much better.

Conte, on his future with the club: “I continue to work, I have a contract with Tottenham. I respect the contract. At the end of the season, will be assessed with the club in the most sober way. … Let’s see how the season ends Maybe they can send me away even earlier. Maybe the expectations were high and might disappoint. All that matters for a coach is doing the work and trying to raise the bar. This year we are trying to raise the bar. are fighting for.”

Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Information Research)

With eight quarter-final matches in the Champions League, AC Milan are behind juventus (12) For most by an Italian club.

– Cristian Romero is sent off for the eighth time in his career (both club and country).


Tottenham Hotspur: placed fourth in Premier League standings, they will aim to stop Liverpool and Newcastle United for the final Champions League spot for next season. spurs take nottingham forest first saturday southampton On 18 March.

AC Milan: level on points with AS Roma For the fourth and final spot in the Champions League on the Serie A table, Milan will look to move ahead with two league matches next week — salernitana on March 13 and Udinese On 18 March.

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