Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte certainly isn’t a stranger to big statements, fiery outbursts and displays of passion on the football pitch. The North London-based outfit have played their cards right by appointing such a serial winner as their manager. It is already looking promising for them, with some solid additions and the squad looking well rounded.
Regarding Champions League predictions, it isn’t easy to look past the big favorites for this year. PSG and Manchester City have recruited immense talent into their ranks and look like very strong contenders to go all the way. For example, Manchester City have purchased Norwegian superstar Erling Haaland, who looks like he has everything needed to become the next big superstar in world football, after hitting the ground running for the North England-based club.
Many consider the lack of a talismanic striker their only flaw last season. They conceded two last-minute goals to eventual winners Real Madrid in the semifinal, after dominating large portions of both legs. Haaland could be the missing piece of the puzzle for a team that looks like it has absolutely everything to take their first Champions League trophy. Not to mention that their manager Pep Guardiola has lifted the trophy on multiple occasions – he knows what it takes to win it.
The same applies to PSG, who have added the iconic Argentinian Lionel Messi to their ranks that are already overflowing with world-class talent. Much like Manchester City, the Paris-based outfit are looking to lift their first ever Champions League trophy. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see them do it, considering they have the likes of Neymar, Mbappé and Messi in their ranks.
However, both of these teams have been favorites to lift the trophy for the last five years and have been unsuccessful. Liverpool also looked strong at one point but seem to be slipping in terms of quality and tenacity. But Liverpool can never be written off when it comes to the Champions League, as they have proved time and time again. They came within a fraction of winning it last year, dominating a final they lost 1-0 to Real Madrid. In addition, they pushed Manchester City to the final day for the domestic league title.
Real Madrid are considered outsiders again, much as they were last season. It would be difficult to write them off, considering they have Carlo Ancelotti at the helm. The Italian legend has lifted the trophy four times as a manager and is widely considered one of the greatest football managers in history.
Looking more closely at Conte’s claim that Spurs could throw their name into the hat with these European giants, it doesn’t seem, on paper, to be the strongest claim. Tottenham have recruited well this summer, have started their league campaign looking a lot more solid and they have been scraping out wins. They may even look like the team that could break the Manchester City and Liverpool duopoly that has existed at the top of the Premier League for the past few years. The Klopp vs Guardiola battle is one of this generation’s great managerial footballing duels.
Despite Spurs bringing in high-quality players such as Richarlison from Everton and Yves Bissouma from Brighton and Hove Albion, they probably don’t have the overall quality to win the Champions League. That said, they did reach the final in 2019, with a far weaker team than they have now.
Moreover, they also have incredible attacking talents such as Son Heung-min and Harry Kane. These starlets are considered two of the best attacking players in the division. Many analysts consider Spurs to have one of the strongest attacking lineups, so if they displayed a spirited effort in their Champions League campaign, they could go much further than some think.
However, Spurs don’t seem to have the depth or quality their European counterparts do, particularly in midfield and defense. Despite Lloris being a World Cup winner and a high-class goalkeeper, he also operates on a level below the likes of Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson.
That being said, Antonio Conte knows what it takes to win trophies. As a player, he had a decorated career. While playing for Juventus, he won five Serie A titles and a Champions League, so he certainly understands the mindset that is required to win trophies. Whether he can lift the greatest trophy in European club football with a Tottenham Hotspur team he has managed for less than a year is unlikely, though.