My Spurs move was torpedoed by a desire for defensive football

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Paulo Fonseca has revealed that he started pre-season plans at Tottenham before his move was torpedoed by CEO Fabio Paratici’s demands for more defensive football.

In a broad interview with Telegraph Sport, Fonseca outlined how close he was to joining Spurs, saying “the deal was ready”, but that the move collapsed due to Paratici wanting a less attacking coach.

Nuno Espirito Santo was eventually named Jose Mourinho’s successor, where the former Wolves head coach had already been criticized by supporters for a perceived negative style.

Fonseca insists his attacking instincts – shaped by his time with Shakhtar Donetsk and AS Roma – would have chimed in with Tottenham’s motto ‘To Dare Is To Do’, but admits his move was doomed as soon as Paratici was appointed.

“The agreement was reached. We planned the pre-season and Tottenham wanted an offensive coach. It was not announced, but we planned pre-season players. But things changed when the new CEO arrived and we did not agree on any ideas and he preferred another coach, ”said Fonseca from his home in Kiev, Ukraine.

“I have some principles. I wanted to coach the big teams, but I want the right project and a club where people believe in my ideas, my way of playing, and that did not happen with the CEO.

“That’s what the chairman and sporting director (Steve Hitchen) asked for. To build a team that can play attractive and offensive football, and I was ready for that. I can not be another way. All my teams want these intentions. In Rome or Shakhtar in the Champions League against the biggest teams, I do not send my teams out to defend near their own box. ”

Fonseca, 48, has stuck to his attacking principles from when he started as a coach in the Portuguese lower divisions, before working his way up and making his name in Paços Ferreira, where he reached the Champions League and debuted at the age of 17 – old called Diogo Jota.

Others who have improved under his guidance included Willy Boly, then Fred, as the couple worked together in Shakhtar Donetsk.

When Fonseca arrived in Roma, Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw a comparison with Thomas Tuchel, with whom he worked at Borussia Dortmund. “He looks like,” Mkhitaryan said of Fonseca, “he tries to put the players in the right position to give them the freedom to enjoy the way they play.” The improvement of players under Fonseca is supported by his attacking football.

“All players want the ball,” he said. “They want to dominate. They will participate. They will not run to recover the ball. They will not run without the ball and defend. The best way to defend yourself is to have the ball.

“We have a commitment with fans to create a play, a good show. It’s the coach. I want to win every match, but just winning is not enough for me. I have to be offensive and dominate the matches and have an offensive midfield and show courage in the game. These are things that will die with me.

“It happened so many times when I came home after winning a game and my wife asked,‘ why are you unhappy? And that’s because I did not win as I wanted. It is not enough. I have to create a great show for the people who pay the tickets and love football. At least I’m trying. I can not be a coach in any other way. ”


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