Antonio Conte has left Tottenham Hotspur by mutual consent after 16 months in charge, the club announced Sunday.
Spurs are fourth in the Premier League but will not end their 15-year wait for a trophy this season after exiting all cup competitions in recent weeks as relations between Conte and the club deteriorated at all levels.
Conte’s assistant, Cristian Stellini, has been named acting head coach for the rest of the season with Ryan Mason chosen as Stellini’s assistant.
Chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement Sunday evening: “We have 10 Premier League games remaining and we have a fight on our hands for a Champions League place.
“We all need to pull together. Everyone has to step up to ensure the highest possible finish for our club and amazing, loyal supporters.”
Sources have told ESPN that Conte had grown frustrated at what he perceived was a difference in strategy with the club reluctant to commit to the radical overhaul of the team he believed was necessary.
This concern had been expressed privately on multiple occasions, but Conte could not hide his anger at the players after they allowed a 3-1 lead to slip at Southampton, conceding twice in the final 15 minutes to draw the game 3-3 just prior to the international break.
In a remarkable postmatch news conference, Conte launched a stinging attack on the players and the club’s owners, ENIC.
“Tottenham’s story is this: 20 years there is this owner and they never won something. Why?” Conte said. “The fault is only for the club, or for every manager that stays here? I have seen the managers that Tottenham had on the bench. You risk to disrupt the figure of the manager and to protect the other situation in every moment.
“Until now I try to hide the situation, but not now because, I repeat, I don’t want to see what I have seen today because this is unacceptable and also unacceptable for the fans.”
He continued: “We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart.
“In my experience, I can tell you that if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve this aspect. And this aspect, I can tell you, in this moment is really, really low. And I see only 11 players that play for themselves.
“They are used to it. They don’t play for something important here. They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress.”