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The news of Santo’s sacking evoked a wide range of emotions from Spurs fans – pity, amusement and anger alike – but the Lilywhites fanbase collectively cheered when the revered Conte was confirmed as the new man in control of the reins.
The Premier League and Serie A-winning coach may not have ever envisaged managing a game in the third tier of European football, but together with Fabio Paratici, Conte is being tipped to mould this Spurs squad into his own Italian vision as they bid to return to the continent’s top table.
Santo’s final game in charge saw Spurs simply capitulate against Manchester United as they were handed a 3-0 defeat, and the Portuguese left the club after losing three of his last four games in charge across all competitions – overseeing a mere 17 in total.
Under Santo, Spurs amassed a measly four points from their first three Conference League games and find themselves third in Group G as things stand – two points behind Vitesse and three behind group leaders Rennes – but they are the highest goalscorers in the group with seven strikes.
Santo came under fire for leaving his strongest XI at home for the first meeting with Vitesse before going on to lose to West Ham United in the top flight, and while Conte is unlikely to field many big-hitters here, the ex-Chelsea boss can nevertheless expect a magnificent reception from the home crowd.
Travelling to hostile away territory to face a Conte-marshalled side does not exactly spell optimism for Vitesse, but the Dutch outfit certainly ought to take confidence from their shock win over the Lilywhites two weeks ago.
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Maximilian Wittek‘s 78th-minute strike was all that it took for Vitesse to claim all three points on home soil, with that result seeing them cement their second-placed position in Group G, and another memorable success this week would all but end Tottenham’s hopes of progression.
Thomas Letsch‘s side have also started to produce the goods on a more consistent basis in the Eredivisie – winning four of their last six, including a 2-1 success over Heerenveen on Saturday thanks to Lois Openda‘s brace – and they have now scored in 11 consecutive games across all tournaments.