Antonio Conte at risk of falling into Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham trap despite Morecambe win

Transfer window will not solve Tottenham's 'situation', Antonio Conte says

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Tottenham Hotspur beat League 1 Morecambe on Sunday to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup, but to say 3-1 flattered the home side would be an understatement. Antonio Conte was forced to throw on his big-name players in order to avoid a humiliating upset.

Conte has a monumental job on his hands. The Manchester United post he was previously linked with may have seemed a tough gig, but the Italian really has his work cut out for him at Tottenham Hotspur.

Conte is now managing a side which, at best, can hope to finish in the top four in the Premier League this season and hope for a miracle in the Carabao Cup.

Out of the Europa Conference League, although on a technicality, the FA Cup is a huge opportunity for Spurs to finally win some silverware again and prove themselves as a force under Conte.

Instead, they put in a dire performance against League 1 Morecambe and were lucky to score two late goals in order to flatter themselves with a 3-1 scoreline.

But the problems don’t just lie in that poor showing – they seem to be falling back into the same patterns Jose Mourinho struggled to rid them of.

Under Mourinho, the major criticism of the former Champions League runners-up was that they failed to have any sort of backup plan and relied heavily on Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.

While it could be argued that Conte has put an emphasis on his wing-backs to provide chances and – by definition – goals, they were lacklustre without their two star forwards on Sunday.

Dele Alli was handed a rare start, but eyebrows were raised when he was played as a false nine, Tottenham’s most attacking player on the pitch.

He started alongside Bryan Gill in attack, with Tanguy Ndombele also playing in an advanced role – though it was unclear exactly where he was playing.

Spurs dominated the ball in the first half, but seemed to have a complete lack of connection between the defence, midfield and attack.

Instead of playing like a flowing and cohesive unit, Tottenham seemed to lack any sort of cutting edge.

That Morecambe’s goal was no real surprise sums up Conte’s side for much of the game. A corner whipped in from Alfie McAlmont exposed the fragility of Tottenham’s defence, and was met by Anthony O’Connor, who passed into the net from close range.

Things seemed to remain the same for much of the game, forcing Conte to throw on Oliver Skipp, Lucas Moura and Kane with 20 minutes to play.

Ndombele trudged off the pitch to a chorus of boos and seemed genuinely bewildered by why he was receiving a negative reception, while Alli walked off no doubt feeling he could have done more in an alternative position.

It seems likely that will be end of £56million man Ndombele’s time in north London, as the Frenchman sulked straight down the tunnel. If he were to depart, a place in the side could open up for Alli to play in a more comfortable position.

Minutes after making the triple change, Spurs were level in the game. A free-kick from Winks evaded everyone – including Morecambe goalkeeper Trevor Carson, who could perhaps have caught the ball if his vision wasn’t blocked – and sailed into the back of the net.

In the final ten minutes, fresh legs from Kane and Moura proved too much, and the home side added a couple of late goals to make the scoreline much more pleasing to the eye for the home side.

But in reality, Conte will know this game merely showed the long, long road ahead.

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