Antonio Conte is expected to be in the dugout for his first-ever match in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, having been appointed as their new manager on Tuesday afternoon.
And he’s been thrown straight into the deep end as Spurs welcome Vitesse to north London in the UEFA Europa Conference League, where they occupy third place with only three games remaining.
The Lilywhites’ second-string were defeated 1-0 by the Dutch outfit two weeks ago and you’d imagine that the 52-year-old won’t be making the same mistake that Nuno Santo made by leaving the bulk of his starting lineup at home.
Instead, the Italian coach will want to kickstart his reign with a convincing result, so we should expect a pretty strong starting XI at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Their defeat to United on Sunday ultimately cost Nuno his job but it highlighted another massive concern as the struggles in the final third continued – Spurs have not registered a shot on goal in the league or in Europe since the first half against West Ham.
Conte won’t have had time to implement his ideas and tactics at all yet but he can certainly help himself by picking the right players and as such, he must call upon Tanguy Ndombele this evening.
Not only can he take a game by storm on his day, but Spurs also play a lot better when he’s starting.
In terms of carrying the ball forward, only Lucas Moura (3.6) is averaging more dribbles per game than Ndombele (1.8) in the Premier League, whilst the Brazilian, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane are the only ones ahead of shots per game (1.5) too, as per WhoScored.
“I said to Joe, how good is he?,” revealed BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand during Spurs’ FA Cup clash with Wycombe Wanderers last season. “And he said ‘this kid is a world-beater, he can do anything.’ He just turned around during the game and said ‘this kid is unplayable’.”
On that evidence, Conte will surely want to start the Frenchman this evening, whatever the system is. He could be a game-changer and his influence may help steer the Italian to an impressive debut victory.