Inside story of why Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked by Spurs

Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno Espirito Santo began his managerial role at Tottenham Hotspur on a good note despite facing challenges during the summer. 

The North London club opened their season with a 1-0 win over Manchester City before suffering a defeat to Pacos de Ferreira in the newly-introduced UEFA Conference League. 

That loss sparked a run of a three-game winning streak for Tottenham across all competitions beating Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Portuguese side – in the second leg of the fixture, and adding Watford to the list as well. 

The results in the Premier League saw the Portuguese win the Manager of the Month award for August, as they kept three clean sheets in all three games in the top-flight. 

However, that was just about the only consistency the team was going to put up under Nuno. 

A run of unconvinced performances and poor results meant that the gaffer was beginning to feel the pressure at the club. 

Prior to the game against Manchester United, both Nuno and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had their jobs on the line with the losing manager said to put an end to his role. 

But a good display from Man United meant that Nuno was set for the sack in the coming days, and that decision was made on Monday, November 1.

Fans’ show of disapproval, players not putting on a fight and the silence from the manager were just enough for the board’s club not to continue with him again, announcing his sack on Monday.

It all begs the issue of why Nuno did not implement his three-at-the-back style which worked for him so well at Wolves. Perhaps he was trying to prove his worth? Possibly the need to continue with Spurs attacking traditions?


The manager started with a three-back formation which allowed the club to have little on the ball but hit teams on the counter-attack. However, that was dropped along the line and Spurs paid the price for it – recording some low results for their profile.

On the other hand, some players were discontent with the majority of match preparation done on the day of game meetings rather than extensively in training sessions prior to matchdays. 

Ultimately, the proof of Nuno’s failure to connect with his team came on the pitch, with the squad lacking an attacking cohesion and other patterns of play. Espirito Sanchez’s tactics did not help him, he also had to rejuvenate the likes of Dele Ali and other players who have fallen out of form. In Nuno’s defense, he was dealing with some stars like Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndomblele who wanted to leave the club last summer transfer window but were held back.

In the long run, all the derbies were lost and Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United proved the Portuguese’s incompetence and lack of details during training. While Nuno proved to be a good manager at Wolves, he was the wrong man at the right time when Daniel Levy was looking through for a replacement after Jose Mourinho’s departure.

Now it looks increasingly likely that Antonio Conte will succeed Nuno at Spurs, having reportedly rejected a contract earlier in the summer.

Conte has agreed to be Tottenham’s manager on a contract to June 2023 and is ready to sign the deal subject to final details, Fabrizio Romano confirmed.

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