Nuno Espirito Santo exclusive interview: Tottenham coach on the highs and lows of his start as he seeks improvement

“It is my passion, it is my life,” Nuno Espirito Santo tells Sky Sports. “Since I was 15, I have not done anything else. Every day is football.”

Speaking earlier than the sport towards Newcastle United on Sunday, three months into the job, he seems extra centered than ever. That in itself is an achievement given every part that being Tottenham Hotspur head coach has thrown at him already.

Nuno’s appointment simply days earlier than gamers reported again for pre-season marked the finish of the membership’s chaotic supervisor search however not the finish of the drama. Harry Kane’s switch saga offered an uncomfortable backdrop all through the summer time.

“Pre-season, different things happened. There were a lot of issues.”

The soccer began with a shock win over Premier League champions Manchester City and a satisfying victory again on his previous patch Molineux. Top at the finish of August, he was rewarded with the supervisor of the month award and out of the blue there was hope.

But the worldwide break introduced confusion with three gamers left quarantining in Dubrovnik and three defeats in a row adopted. The final of them, an emphatic one towards rivals Arsenal, curtailed all optimism. Now there have been doubts, even anger.

Spurs needed to beat Aston Villa final day trip simply to convey some calm.

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“In simple terms, I think we started well, then we did not perform so well,” he says. “We had a big problem after the international break, we were not able to sustain it, and now we are trying to recover. I was really happy with the Villa performance.

“It has been up and down however I feel we have been in a position to recuperate that sense of what we needed from the group towards Villa. It was an excellent sport. But now, one other worldwide break, it’s a new cycle coming. A troublesome schedule, quite a bit of video games away from residence.”

Nuno is reflecting on events from a sofa in the reception area at Tottenham’s training ground. He is in good spirits, having spent some time with his family, but poor health. There is a fist bump and an apology for the cold that leaves him feeling less than his best.

The news on Friday that two Tottenham players have tested positive for coronavirus is a reminder that the challenges keep coming. If Nuno is waiting for things to settle, it seems he is waiting in vain. Spurs travel to face Vitesse in the Europa Conference League in midweek.

“When you will have this sort of schedule, you must enhance the group throughout the competitions. The coaching floor is all about recovering. They can’t be afraid of making errors on the pitch.

“Mistakes are going to happen.”

Even so, supporters need to see indicators of a transparent fashion of play rising, one they are going to get pleasure from. Scepticism about the new supervisor in all probability hastens the want for him to ship it.

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One wonders what the influence of Daniel Levy’s phrases previous to his appointment, the insistence that the new Tottenham coach would embrace the membership’s historic demand for free-flowing soccer, may need had on Nuno. Is it influencing his considering?

“With all due respect, it is not what guides me,” he says, moderately emphatically. “What guides me are the players, how to improve them so that we can achieve what our fans want. Working with the players in a progressive way is what moves me.

“We worth all the opinions and the DNA of the membership. But the job is about what we now have. I feel everyone would like to play attacking, engaging soccer, no matter. But to attain that you simply want time, you want consistency.

“The first thing is to be able to create some routine. You can see it when the players train over and over again. That is when you create habits. Our job has been hard in that aspect because we have not been able to maintain the work that we want to do.”

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There is hope that the Villa end result will probably be a turning level. It needed to be after such a disjointed efficiency towards Arsenal that left Nuno struggling to sleep. “During that time my thoughts were consumed with what we could change, what we could do,” he says.

“We needed a change and a reaction.”

The deserved 2-1 victory was the first time that his Tottenham group had scored twice in a Premier League sport, their 17 photographs additionally a season-high. There have been hints of fluency.

“We were organised, we pressed really well. We were able to do something that we had not done before and that is to react well when we conceded a goal. We finished the game really strongly. The idea now is to recover the levels of performance shown against Villa.”

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win towards Aston Villa

It is slightly ironic given the calls for for attacking soccer that an ostensibly conservative swap helped spark such an improvement. Oliver Skipp got here into the group in place of Dele Alli, enjoying as a pure holding midfielder alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

“It worked really well. We were able to be more solid in the middle of the park with Skipp and Hojbjerg being side by side, although we still allowed one of them to have freedom to support in attack. It was the same idea but a little bit different and it worked better.”

The higher management in midfield had benefits elsewhere too, with Sergio Reguilon and Emerson Royal inspired to play with slightly extra journey in the full-back positions.

“If you have a square, two centre-halves and the two midfielders, that can release the players in the wide areas while, at the same time, keeping the balance of the team.”

He is open to the risk of additional tweaks. A swap to a few at the again, one which labored properly for Nuno at Wolves, may permit Reguilon higher licence to assault, and would seem to swimsuit Cristian Romero on condition that he performed in that system at Atalanta.

“I think we have to be versatile enough to realise what the team needs in each moment. You cannot ask players to do it if you have not worked on it and we need time to work on it. When you realise you are not able to develop those routines, you cannot just try it.

“It is all about dynamics, the mobility to occupy totally different areas, enjoying quick with the ball. These are issues that we now have to enhance. The gamers have the expertise so we now have to push.

“Everything is about work.”

Nuno’s report as a coach won’t put him amongst the prime bracket – the three favourites for the Premier League title are all led by Champions League-winning coaches – however his achievements to this point in his profession recommend he makes the finest of what’s at his disposal.

There have been finest of the relaxation finishes with Valencia and Wolves, whereas he additionally took Rio Ave to seventh and completed second with Porto. He won’t say this squad is the finest with which he has labored but when he maximises their capabilities there will probably be few complaints.

“I do not know what the ceiling is for these players,” he says.

“I do know they are very talented players with real space to improve.”

Newcastle United
Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday seventeenth October 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

It could be a fifth win in eight video games if Tottenham can win at St James’ Park on Sunday, matching the feat of Jose Mourinho and surpassing the start made by Mauricio Pochettino. It feels slightly incongruous given all the fuss however it will symbolize a stable start.

The sport can even mark 1000 video games as a supervisor for Steve Bruce. His counterpart shouldn’t be even midway there but however, given his work ethic, don’t be too shocked if he will get shut.

“You know me, I live day by day,” says Nuno. “I know what I did today, I know what I have to do tomorrow. I do not think about after that. But, honestly, I do not see myself doing anything else.”

Watch Newcastle vs Tottenham dwell on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

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