Antonio Conte is a top manager who has turned Tottenham around and can help them crack the top four, argues Jamie Carragher.
Spurs were ninth when Conte was hired at the start of November but have picked up 14 points from six games since then, one of only two unbeaten teams in the competitions in that period.
“There has been a huge turnaround,” Carragher told Monday Night Football.
“Under the last manager Nuno Espirito Santo they were massively underperforming, there is no doubt about that. But we can actually look at the comparison and it has improved massively.
“It has improved in goals conceded. They were near the bottom of the table. Now they are top of the league. Distance covered is the one that everyone talks about because it almost feels like we are talking about a different team with the same names and same players.”
Spurs were averaging 100 kilometres per game under Nuno, running less than any other team in the Premier League. Under Conte it is 114 kilometres per game, a league high.
“That is the impact that he has had,” added Carragher.
“We should also say that it has been a favourable start for Antonio Conte with five home games and one away and the average positions of the opposition. It was a tougher start for Nuno but there is no doubt they have another level of manager now.”
Conte has been quick to return to the wing-back system with which he had such success at Chelsea, winning the Premier League title in 2017.
It seems to suit the players.
“Watching them at the weekend, it took me back to Chelsea under Conte or even under Thomas Tuchel now with that 3-4-3.
“Lucas Moura with Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane, that is a formidable front three, with these wing-backs that play high and wide.
“Just the role that the two No 10s have, it makes it really difficult for those who pick them up. This is the problem that you have as the full-back, do you go with the wing-back or the No 10? The space is outside for the wing-back. We see that a lot with Tuchel’s team.
“Against Conte, against Chelsea now, you see it so often where the space is there for the wing-back, whether it is Marcos Alonso, Reece James, or, for Tottenham, Sergio Reguilon.
“I always feel that if you go with a back four against these top teams it is really difficult because this seems to happen a lot.”
Will Tottenham become a top team under Conte? Carragher believes that their chances of success in the race for Champions League qualification have dramatically improved because of the quality of the manager now in position – perhaps the club’s best in half a century.
“The reason why I think Spurs have a really good chance of top four is that they have a really good manager. They have a manager who can go up against Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel.
“Look at his record. We are not talking about a guy who has been in the Premier League for half a season and had a good run. He has won the Premier League, he has won the FA Cup in his second season, and he has had a great start at Spurs.
“His win ratio puts him up there with the best Premier League managers. You think of Spurs and you probably have to go back to the most famous manager in the club’s history, Bill Nicholson who was the manager when they won the double in 1961.
“They have never had a manager of this level. People will say Jose Mourinho but it was not Mourinho in his prime. I think they have got a top manager in his prime right now and that is what gives them a realistic chance.”