Wolves cruise past fragile Tottenham to add to Antonio Conte’s woes

The boos that had already rung out around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at half-time were only slightly amplified come the final whistle for one simple, damning, reason. Having left for home, a large portion of the crowd had already silently delivered their judgment on a performance that had not just lacked quality, but also confidence and character.

They had seen Wolverhampton Wanderers surge into a 2-0 lead inside 18 minutes and, for all the sporadic signs of a reaction by Tottenham, the predominant sense over the ensuing 72 minutes was of inevitability.

It has been one step forward and two back throughout much of Antonio Conte’s tenure already as Spurs manager but, after a third straight Premier League defeat, the inquest will be as much about the new manager’s powers of motivation as the obvious deficiencies in the squad that he has inherited. 

Conte has not personally lost three league matches in a row since he was at Atalanta some 13 years, six clubs and five league titles ago. His post-match assessment again centred on the need for patience and there are problems right now in multiple directions.

Wolves fans brutally chanted “Harry Kane, he wants to f— off”at the England captain and, alongside the defiant chants of “Y– army” by the Spurs fans – despite again being asked to refrain from using the Y-word – there was also audible discontent about the club’s chairman Daniel Levy. 

The one positive is that Spurs do still have the games in hand to climb back into the top four but, with Wolves having now leapfrogged them to seventh in the Premier League table, Bruno Lage’s side currently look better equipped to exploit the inconsistency of Manchester United and Arsenal.

This was their fourth away win in succession – the first time they have achieved that feat in more than 40 years – and only Manchester City currently have a better defensive record. 

“I think we controlled the game – and we played with character,” said Lage who, even as his team stands on the coat-tails of the top four, remains steadfast in stressing the ‘one game at a time’ mantra. “Champions League? If, if, if, if – continue to work hard, one day at a time,” he added.

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