Tottenham coach Nuno Espirito Santo is on the brink of being axed, after club bosses held crisis talks in the wake of their dismal 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.
The Telegraph reports an urgent meeting was held after the defeat, with chairman Daniel Levy ‘furious’ at the way the team performed – having not mustered a single shot on target for the first time at home in eight years.
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The report states that Nuno was included in the discussions. The former Wolves manager was reported to be close to losing his job earlier in the season following three-straight losses to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal. A good win over Aston Villa appeared to turn things around, before things took a turn for the worse.
A humbling defeat to Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League – with the first team left in England – has now been followed by losses to West Ham United and Manchester United.
Tottenham supporters chanted “You don’t know what you’re doing” in the 47-year-old’s direction during the United defeat, and also took aim at Levy as well as Harry Kane.
Nuno replaced Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in April, in one of the first moves made by Tottenham’s new managing director Fabio Paratici.
Italian reports have stated that Paratici spoke to Italian manager Antonio Conte after the defeat to United.
Conte rejected the Spurs job earlier this year, one of many targets Tottenham preferred to Nuno.
Hansi Flick, Gennaro Gattuso and Paulo Fonseca had all been in discussions over taking the coaching role before Nuno’s appointment, and Fonseca had even verbally agreed to take the job. Fonseca has reportedly since been in discussions with Newcastle over a head coaching role there following their big-money takeover.
Conte has also been linked to Manchester United and Arsenal – though Arteta appears to have turned things around in recent weeks – but will only take on a project he believes will be immediately successful.
After the defeat to United, Nuno said: “I am only thinking about the next game and the next training session. There are not words that will solve the situation.
“When they [the fans] don’t see the team play the way they expect they are going to boo. I believe the players are better than that and it’s up to us to change the mood.”
Nuno’s biggest problem has been the dismal form of England captain Harry Kane, who appears a shadow of last season’s Golden Boot campaign – his third such trophy.
Kane, 28, has not been his usual self following a failed move to Manchester City in the off-season.
Former United midfielder Roy Keane believes that denied transfer request has played a key role in Tottenham’s struggles this campaign – with the team scoring just nine times in their first ten games for the first time since 2013-14.
“You do have to have sympathy with the manager when you think when he’s come in here you’re thinking ‘I’m going to be working with a world-class striker in Harry Kane’ but that saga is just dragging on,” he said. “Kane hasn’t recovered from it and the team haven’t.”