EPL

Tottenham move collapsed because Paratici wanted defensive football, claims Fonseca

By Sports Desk September 23, 2021

Paulo Fonseca claims his move to Tottenham collapsed because incoming director Fabio Paratici preferred a coach with a more defensive style.

The 48-year-old former Roma boss had looked primed to take over from Jose Mourinho until the deal fell through, with some reports initially blaming problems with Italian and United Kingdom tax laws.

Spurs went through a host of prospective candidates, including Gennaro Gattuso and Antonio Conte, before Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed in June.

Nuno has endured a mixed start to life in north London, winning his first three Premier League games before suffering comprehensive defeats to Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

Spurs have only scored once from open play in their five league games in 2021-22 from 2.5 expected goals, the lowest such figure aside from Burnley, Norwich City and Aston Villa. Ignoring set-pieces, they have created 27 chances in those five matches, the worst return in the league.

They have averaged only 44 per cent of the possession, the sixth-lowest in the division, while they have registered just eight build-up attacks – open-play sequences of 10 or more passes that end with a shot or a touch in the box – which is a figure less than half that posted by Nuno's former side Wolves (18).

Still, Fonseca claims this more safety-first approach was favoured by Paratici when he arrived at the club as managing director of football in July.

"The agreement was done," he told the Telegraph when asked about his own talks with Spurs.

"We were planning the pre-season and Tottenham wanted an offensive coach. It wasn't announced but we planned pre-season players. But things changed when the new managing director arrived, and we didn't agree with some ideas, and he preferred another coach.

"I have some principles. I wanted to be coach of the great teams, but I want the right project and a club where the people believe in my ideas, my way to play, and this didn't happen with the managing director.

"I cannot be a different way. All my teams will have these intentions. In Rome or Shakhtar [Donetsk] in the Champions League against the biggest teams, I'm not sending out my teams to defend near their own box.

"We have an obligation with supporters to create a spectacle, a good show. That is the obligation of the coach. I want to win every game but just winning is not enough for me. I have to be offensive and dominate the games and have an offensive midfield and show courage in the game. These are things which will die with me.

"It happened so many times when I got home after winning a game and my wife asked 'why are you unhappy?' And it is because I didn't win the way I wanted to. It is not enough. I have to create a good show for the people who pay the tickets and love football. At least I try. I cannot be a coach in another way."

Related items

  • Silva glad to be playing his part as Guardiola hails 'extraordinary' midfielder Silva glad to be playing his part as Guardiola hails 'extraordinary' midfielder

    Bernardo Silva is glad to have rediscovered his best form for Manchester City after being hailed as an "extraordinary" player by Pep Guardiola following Saturday's win against Burnley.

    The Portugal international opened the scoring for City in their 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium and had other opportunities to double his tally before Kevin De Bruyne sealed the three points.

    He played a game-high three key passes against Burnley from a central position that he has become familiar with this campaign, standing out for the reigning champions in an otherwise disjointed display.

    Silva asked to leave City during the close season due to what he perceived to be an unfair lack of playing time last season, but the 27-year-old is pulling the strings once again this term and is eager to maintain his form.

    "It's tough when you don't play the minutes that you want to," he said. "It happened with me, it's happened with most of the players here. It's how it works. You have to go and fight for your place.

    "I'm happy that I am helping the team and I am happy with the momentum but it's just the beginning."

    Silva has two goals from 10 appearances in all competitions this season and, alongside fellow midfielder Rodri, Guardiola believes the former Monaco man is his side's best-performing player right now.

    "He and Rodri are in the top form. They have both played incredibly well in the last four or five games," Guardiola said. "Bernardo is at the same level as in our second season together when we won 98 points. He was out of this world, the way he played.

    "He always gives us the extra touch, the extra pass we need and he doesn’t lose balls. He scored a goal, which was important for him. The performance of Bernardo has been extraordinary again. 

    "We are incredibly lucky to have him. He is a joy to have with us and is playing in an incredible top level right now."

    Silva's goal against Burnley was his second in eight Premier League appearances against them. He has also assisted five goals in the fixture, making the Clarets his favourite opponents in the competition.

    With their victory over Burnley, City have now kept six clean sheets in their opening eight Premier League games this season – more than any other side.

    "My players always play good because they give everything and they gave it in a difficult game after the international break," Guardiola added.

    "Burnley are organised and you have to adjust and adapt to the way they play. I am so satisfied for the game we played and the victory we got."

  • Benzema deserves Ballon d'Or and time has come to reward Real Madrid star, says Zidane Benzema deserves Ballon d'Or and time has come to reward Real Madrid star, says Zidane

    Karim Benzema deserves to become the first French winner of the Ballon d'Or since Zinedine Zidane – and that verdict comes from Zidane himself.

    Real Madrid striker Benzema, who has taken over the captaincy since Sergio Ramos joined Paris Saint-Germain, is playing the best football of his career as he approaches his 34th birthday in December.

    Zidane has seen that as close quarters, having had two spells as Madrid head coach during Benzema's time at the club.

    Although Zidane left Los Blancos at the end of last season, he is firmly in the Benzema camp when it comes to selecting a Ballon d'Or front-runner.

    Speaking to TF1's Telefoot, Zidane said: "We're talking about a player who deserves to win this Ballon d'Or.

    "He's an incredible player, I had the great honour of coaching him. He knows how to do everything on the pitch. I hope he can be rewarded with this Ballon d'Or. It's the right moment because he's at the top of his game."

    France international Benzema has been Madrid's attacking spearhead since Cristiano Ronaldo departed for Juventus in 2018 and has risen to that challenge.

    He has topped the 20-goal mark in LaLiga in the last three seasons and has nine strikes in eight games so far this term in the Spanish top flight.

    Last season, Benzema's 23 league goals came at an average of one every 126.13 minutes. They also came from an expected goals total of 18.81, indicating he is excelling in taking the chances that come his way.

    His LaLiga shot conversion rate so far in 2021-22 is 26.47 per cent, higher than he has achieved across any full league campaign since arriving in 2009 from Lyon.

    With three LaLiga titles and four Champions League wins in 12 years, Benzema has accrued plenty of silverware while with Los Blancos, much of it during Zidane's time in charge. He also helped France win the Nations League last weekend, scoring a stunning goal against Spain in the final.

    Now, individual acclaim may be coming his way, although Benzema faces stiff competition, with six-time winner Lionel Messi rated a favourite for the Ballon d'Or with British bookmakers, having helped Argentina win the Copa America.

    Benzema recently said it had been a long-held "dream of mine" to win the coveted award.

    Robert Lewandowski's record-breaking 41-goal Bundesliga season last term also puts him firmly into contention, while Jorginho has a strong claim after winning the Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy.

    The Ballon d'Or winner will be announced on November 29 at a ceremony in Paris.

  • Messi is 'very happy' at PSG, says ex-Barcelona colleague Fabregas Messi is 'very happy' at PSG, says ex-Barcelona colleague Fabregas

    Lionel Messi is "very happy" at Paris Saint-Germain despite making a slow start to life in the French capital since his shock move from Barcelona, according to friend and former team-mate Cesc Fabregas.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner signed for Ligue 1 giants PSG in August after Barcelona, the club he had been associated with for 21 years, were unable to fulfil an agreement on a new contract due to financial reasons.

    Messi scored a staggering 672 goals and assisted 265 more in 778 appearances across 17 seasons in Barca's first team, but he has so far managed just one goal and zero assists in five games for his new club in what has been a stop-start campaign.

    He has had 13 shots during his 370 minutes on the field for PSG, finding the target from four of those.

    Monaco midfielder Fabregas has opened up on Messi's surprise departure from Camp Nou two months ago and has refuted previous suggestions that the Argentina international is unsettled in the French capital.

    "He's very happy. There are a lot of players he knows already and who speak Spanish. He's very happy, of course," Fabregas, who progressed through Barca's La Masia academy and returned to the club for a three-season spell in 2011, told Prime Video Sport.

    "I was on holiday with him a week earlier, and he told me he was close to signing for Barcelona and he was due to start training the following week.

    "Five days later, he told me it wasn't possible and that the club had told him to leave. I was very sad because I'm his friend and I'm a Barcelona fan. But now, I'm happy to be able to play against him this season."

    Messi was not included in PSG's squad for Friday's 2-1 win over Angers, the superstar forward not being considered for selection due to being in World Cup qualifying action for Argentina the previous day.

    Kylian Mbappe's contentious late penalty sealed a ninth win in 10 Ligue 1 games for leaders PSG, who return to action on Tuesday with a home match against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.