Home » ARTICLES » Boro boss jokingly accuses Tottenham’s Antonio Conte of copying his tactics ahead of FA Cup tie

Boro boss jokingly accuses Tottenham’s Antonio Conte of copying his tactics ahead of FA Cup tie

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Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder jokes that Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte stole his tactics  

Ahead of his side’s FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur (h/t Daily Mail), Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder joked that Spurs boss Antonio Conte stole his tactics of playing a three-man defence and using it for his own success.

The two teams clash against each other in the fifth round of the FA Cup tonight, with Conte looking to go all the way in the competition and get his hands on the trophy to win his first major honour with Tottenham.

Wilder spoke highly of his counterpart, saying that the ex-Inter Milan man had an incredible passion to help his team and that there could be no doubts about the Spurs boss’ abilities as his record speaks for itself.

“One thing you see is that he has an incredible passion to help his team and club. Everybody goes about it a different way, but his record speaks for itself.”

Chris Wilder showered praise on Antonio Conte. (Photo by NIGEL RODDIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Chris Wilder showered praise on Antonio Conte. (Photo by NIGEL RODDIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Spurs are heading into tonight’s tie in good spirits, as they come off a brilliant 4-0 win against Leeds United. Boro meanwhile, lost 3-2 to Barnsley on the weekend and will look to shake off their previous result by causing an upset in the FA Cup.

“He was copying us”

Conte is famous for employing a system that operates with three central defenders and attacking wing-backs on the flanks – a formation that has brought him much success in England and Italy as he led his former clubs to domestic glory.

Wilder joked that the Italian had stolen his system while he was at Sheffield United, where the now-Boro boss employed a 3-5-2 system with overlapping full-backs, similar to what Conte used to win the Premier League with Chelsea in 2017, and with Juventus and Inter Milan in Italy.

“I said to him at an awards evening once that he was copying us! But he’s a world-class manager, just look at his record.”

Chris Wilder joked that Conte had stolen his 3-5-2 system to achieve success of his own. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Chris Wilder joked that Conte had stolen his 3-5-2 system to achieve success of his own. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It has been common to see English teams play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 over the decades, employing four defenders at the back and ensuring that a balance is achieved across the pitch. Conte arguably was the one to change people’s opinions on the unconventional 3-5-2 system as he led Chelsea to the PL and FA Cup titles using his preferred tactics.

Wilder, meanwhile, showed that this system worked perfectly fine in the Championship as well as the top-flight as he led Sheffield United to promotion in the 2018/19 season and finished ninth in their first season back in the Premier League.

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Conte has continued to use this formation at Tottenham as well, playing Ben Davies, Eric Dier, and Cristian Romero as his three centre-backs. It is definitely a new system for Spurs players to get used to, and we can hope that they quickly adapt to how the head coach wants them to play.

Wilder meanwhile, will hope that Tottenham using ‘his’ system will not prove too much of a challenge for his Middlesbrough team, who previously beat Manchester United at Old Trafford to set up tonight’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at home.

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