Antonio Conte’s reign as Tottenham manager got off to a bizarre but victorious start on Thursday night as Spurs beat Vitesse 3-2 in a very eventful match.
Conte’s arrival in North London was never going to be a quiet one and the charismatic Italian was animated on the touchline all night long as his ten-man side beat their nine-man Europa Conference League opponents.
Conte was given a rousing reception by home fans as he made his way into the dugout for the first time before kick-off.
His team seemingly responded to the atmosphere and produced a stunning start.
Heung-min Son opened the scoring in the 14th minute as he fired home a loose ball.
Lucas Moura made it two just eight minutes later, coolly slotting home after Harry Kane had played him through.
And it was 3-0 in the 28th minute as Jacob Rasmussen put through his own net after trying to intercept Kane’s effort.
It was looking like a simple and delightful debut for Conte in the opening half-hour.
However, Rasmussen quickly made amends by scoring at the right end, powering in a header from a corner to make it 3-1.
Before half-time, the score was pulled back to 3-2 as Moura gave the ball away and Matus Bero was able to roll his shot into the far corner.
All of a sudden, there were a number of nervous faces around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
In the second half, Spurs faced further adversity as they were reduced to 10 men on 59 minutes as Cristian Romero saw red.
The Argentinian hauled hauled down Lois Openda and picked up a second yellow card.
Vitesse were pushing for an equaliser and forced Lloris into several fine saves, but were reduced to 10 men themselves in the 80th minute as captain Danilho Doekhi received two yellow cards.
Ten quickly became nine for the visitors as goalkeeper Markus Schubert was then sent off for handling the ball outside the area to block a shot from Emerson Royal.
The two reds ended all hope Vitesse had of snatching a point and the game ended 3-2 – a victorious opener for Conte.
“It was a crazy game,” Conte reacted to BT Sport.
“Usually I don’t like this type of game because [it’s] a game means that anything can happen, but at the same time I thought we should win and we won.
“We were winning 3-0 and then we conceded two goals which we can avoid and after the red card we were in trouble, but I think to win suffering is good for this team and these players as they need to improve their confidence.
“They need to work a lot and the problem is that we’ve got to find the time to work.
“I’m happy because I’m found a group of players that showed me great ability. Tonight they wanted to win and for this reason we won, but for sure we have to improve.
“I think this is a very positive thing.
“In my mind there’s a lot of room for improvement in every single player.”
“It was a crazy game… I don’t like these types of games. It means anything can happen.”
“The players have to understand what I want.”
Antonio Conte broke down his first game in charge of Spurs and what comes next ahead of the weekend 🔜
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 4, 2021
He added: “It’s not easy because we prepared for this game and have only one day because tomorrow it’s impossible to work with the players who played tonight because they used a lot of energy and need to rest.
“We’ll work with the players who didn’t play.
“We need to have a bit of patience because we need to work on many aspects – tactically, physically and for the players to know what I want but I’m not afraid of all the work.
“Only through work can you reach important targets.”