Home » The summer signing that has been Conte’s ‘secret weapon’ this season – opinion

The summer signing that has been Conte’s ‘secret weapon’ this season – opinion

By Mehdi Gokal -

Tottenham Hotspur’s sporting director, Fabio Paratici, made a number of signings during the summer transfer window, including Ivan Perisic, Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Djed Spence, and Clement Lenglet.

And while some of the new signings are slowly starting to make an impact, there is one particular summer acquisition who has made the greatest impact on the Spurs side. It’s the hiring of a set-piece specialist coach, Gianni Vio.

Gianni Vio has previously worked for the Italian national team, AC Milan, Fiorentina, and Leeds, among others. He was dubbed as the ‘the little wizard’ for the role he played for Catania in the 08/09 season where they scored 17 goals from 44 set pieces.

He was also a key member of Roberto Mancini’s Italy team that won Euro 2020 last summer, where they famously scored from a corner to equalise against England in the final before winning on penalties. Vio was credited with devising 4,830 different set-piece scenarios for the Italians to work on. (via Squawka)

Prior to his signing, in the last 38 games last season, Spurs only scored 8 goals from set pieces. In comparison, the three teams that finished above Tottenham in the Premier League last season, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea, scored 21, 19, and 11 goals from set-plays, respectively, while fifth-placed Arsenal also scored 16 times from set pieces, demonstrating how far Spurs trailed their main rivals. (via WhoScored)

As a result, it is not surprising to see why Conte decided to hire the specialist in order to try and address this shortcoming over the summer. And to say the appointment has been anything short of masterstroke would be an understatement.

Spurs have been incredible in attacking set-plays this season. Tottenham currently ranked joint-top of the goals scored from set-pieces this season with 5 goals from 18 scored in the league all coming from dead-balls matched with Liverpool and Arsenal.

Vio’s influence at Tottenham has already been noted by Kane and Dejan Kulusevski, and even when Conte’s team does not score from set-pieces, the improvements are visible to all.

After Spurs scored the winner against Wolves which came from a set-piece, Kulusevski said (via FourFourTwo):

“I just told him three times that we have to give him more money. He has to get a pay rise for sure! Shoutout to him. He’s very important. He makes a difference, as you can see. At the end of the day, we won on a set piece so we have to keep working on that. It’s not the funnest thing in the world but it makes results. It helps a lot.

“Three games, three goals [from set pieces] I think, so we have to keep listening to him and do what he says. I don’t remember that we scored so many [from set pieces] last season but it’s very important. Now we have to get better. Every time we get a set piece we have to believe we can score.”

It’s no surprise that Vio has been dubbed a “secret weapon” by Italian football expert James Horncastle, as the 69-year-old has already proven this for Conte and his Tottenham team this season.

Tags Antonio Conte Gianni Vio NewsNow Tottenham Hotspur
37 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
judge
judge
2 months ago

At Prem , european or World level we have to be ahead of the game , its another area we’ve broken into in a serious way and must be applauded .
I also feel the art of “shooting” is at an all time low , this used to be standard but I can see that it also ‘draws ‘ defenders to potential shooters , thereby leaving space behind . Life these days is High and Low Block and can be somewhat boring , but I appreciate the science / tactical approach too , just not too exciting is is ??
When did we stop playing football with a smile ???
No wonder that Sonny is adored ………………………… C O Y S !!!!!!

Dexter
Dexter
2 months ago
Reply to  judge

My old man used to say, you snarl while you’re playing, smile when you’ve won.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago

I thought this was an important appointment in the Summer and he has exceeded expectations.

This isn’t to be underestimated – it was City and Liverpool that topped goals from set-pieces last year, it can unlock a stubborn defence and open games up.

This season we have 7 headed goals, the most of any team (next is 4). We only got 8 in the entirety of last season.

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

Paying someone to devise corner and free kick routines, are you joking? I’ve missed my vocation. Every one of us could come up with something equally as good. The routine with Sonny is getting him to miss the first defender.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Everyone laughed at Liverpool’s throw-in coach, including me, but there was tangible proof it helped them.

This is not to be sniffed at at all. Vastly under-exploited source of goals, especially for us.

Brick Top
Brick Top
2 months ago

He’s done really good. The short corner to get Kulu to cross from the edge of the box is a dangerous weapon indeed. We need more weapons to compete for anything of note, like a playmaker

SpursGoliath
SpursGoliath
2 months ago

+ also Spurs are now the tallest side in the league

Last edited 2 months ago by SpursGoliath
East Stand
East Stand
2 months ago
Reply to  SpursGoliath

So we’re like Pulis’ Stoke? Quality…

SpursGoliath
SpursGoliath
2 months ago
Reply to  East Stand

We moaned about being a soft touch and not scoring from set plays – now we’re offending purist sensibilities :/

Theres no way of seriously spinning this news as bad, love it 😉

Brick Top
Brick Top
2 months ago
Reply to  East Stand

We definitely need more flair players. I’d start with Mudryk in Jan

Marbella Spur
Marbella Spur
2 months ago
Reply to  Brick Top

Couldn’t agree more, he has the capability of unlocking defences with his dribbling ability and could turn out to be a world class player.

Brick Top
Brick Top
2 months ago
Reply to  Marbella Spur

And he’s young and hungry, playing to seal his big move. Looking at the imminent success of Kvaratskhelia, it’s a no brainer. Mudryk will be a world class player and unlike the likes of Neymar et al, he’s powerful and strong combined with his trickery. Seriously, he looks like a young Bale with Neymars dribbling ability

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Brick Top

I agree but Conte doesn’t do flair.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

This is what people don’t seem to grasp, there is little room for individual brilliance in a Conte set-up. He wants automatons who do his bidding to the letter.

His comments on Bissouma are telling – this is a boy who played and thrived under the tactically fluid Potter. Mid-game changes, various roles.

It is honestly not my cup of tea. It will probably bring tangible success, but have a limued shelf-life. You have to weigh up the pros and cons.

People cannot moan that we are not ‘winners’ while playing nice football then moan that the football isn’t great when we employ a ‘winner’.

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

I think this is why Conte only lasts 2-3 years per stop because most players get tired of playing in such a rigid system and start tuning him out.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

100%. Needs loads of churn, or younger players

Marbella Spur
Marbella Spur
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

Italian football is very tactical and to a certain extent, the mentality of the catennacio philosophy is still imbued in their style of play. Most neutral observers would prefer to watch the PL or La Liga over Serie A which is slow compared to other leagues. Frankly, I find us a hard watch at the moment.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  Marbella Spur

It is almost rope-a-dope football. We lure teams in to the press to replicate counter-attacking situations.

Unfortunately our passing has been really poor so far, and Sonny not being himself has added to it.

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

It’s funny but during the first half of games I think I’m watching a heavyweight boxing match where they just spar the first few rounds. Maybe this is Conte’s method of conserving players’ energy for a long tough slog of a season? If not, counting on Sonny to rip screamers from 30 yards out into the upper bins is a not a long-term recipe for success .

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

We sit at pretty much the mid-point for height of defensive line and the amount of pressing. As middling as they come.

Not sure how it compares to last season, but you may well be on to something. He is getting them super-fit for one reason or another.

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Marbella Spur

I have to disagree about Italian football. I’ve watched quite a few games recently mainly because of Udogie and found them very entertaining. They’ve moved on from catenaccio and the football is fast and skilful with plenty of goals. Puts what in the main we are producing to shame.

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

I can’t see us being winners though.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Time will tell.

He has 73pts from 35 PL games overall, equivalent to a 79/80pt season.

While not title standard, mitigating factors are an inherited squad and joining mid-season.

This season it is 17pts from 7 games. This translates as a 92pt season over 38 games. It is a tiny sample size of course, but we haven’t even hit our stride yet.

Winning ugly is a good trait. Solely winning ugly not sustainable. Hopefully Saturday was a bit of a turning point, with Sonny the catalyst

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

Hope so. We’ll get a better idea of where we are at on 1st October.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t go for a 3-man midfield for this one – i’d be happy enough with the three that finished v Leicester.

I think we can go without Royal and let two of Sess, Doherty, and Perisic loose.

Keep it tight, control that midfield, and have Deki and Richarlison ready if we need to bring the mayhem.

Not a long term thing, just this game.

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

We haven’t really played anyone good yet bar Chelsea who bossed us around the pitch, but have struggled against other sides. We couldn’t beat a midtable Sporting team and needed an extra man to take down Marseille. Oct 1 will be revealing one way or another.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

The only thing I can offer is that playing that badly under Mourinho or Nuno would probably end with a few more in the L column – we do seem to be a little more robust when we have to absorb pressure.

It does look like rustic, defensive football at present but I feel it is not by design, more to do with our lack of cohesion when we win it back. Sonny has been a symbol of our toils so far, hopefully we have both turned a corner in time for 1st October

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

We bounce around from manager to manager, changing styles and formations but we don’t really have an identity like City and Liverpool do now, and we don’t spend the money like United and Chelsea so we’ll be battling it out with the Arse 5th and 6th forever it seems.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

We finished 4th last season, not 5th or 6th. Any season in the last 7 that didn’t include Mourinho we have got a CL place (5/7)

Getting in the Vegas years Mourinho was a huge error considering the rebuild required, Nuno too, but other than that we generally punch around the CL spots

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

True but we’re always 5th or 6th in net spend and payroll. Once Chelsea and United get their acts together we’ll drift back down to our spend level.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

We have been the 6th biggest spenders for well over a decade now (wages+transfers).We had the 6th biggest revenue for years too, only recently have we tussled with Arsenal for 5th.

There has been no reversion to the mean in terms of league position, even the bad seasons of 6th and 7th are pretty much around par really.

I’m bullish. Levy has now put in big-club administrative infrastructure to match the big-club physical infrastructure. The stadium is a goer after covid. Things are looking pretty good currently

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

I think for us to truly contend we need to be Top 3 in spending or operate so astutely like a Dortmund or Southampton and overachieve. I haven’t seen any indication from ENIC that they intend to spend more and certainly our management is nowhere near the calibre of an Ajax etc.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

Dortmund don’t overachieve to be honest. They are the 2nd biggest club in Germany – miles behind Munich, miles ahead of the rest.

Twice won it under Klopp, but not in the last decade – in that time they have finished 2nd six times, 3rd twice, 4th once and 7th the other.

Chronic underachievers.

at large
at large
2 months ago
Reply to  Chirpy

Ok maybe Dortmund’s a bad example but that wasn’t my main point.

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

Trophies will always be the stick we get beaten with, and we have certainly fallen short even with very good sides.

If you look at revenue v league position though, since Jol 1st full season, we have consistently punched above. It isn’t glamorous as pots haven’t been forthcoming, but in those 16 seasons I think I can only 2 were par 6th, and 3 were under par. 11 seasons punching above.

We have been extremely unlucky along the way. Abramovich saving Chelsea closed off a top 4 spot for years, just as we started getting our act together. Then when we got CL football, City exploded and have qualified every year since.

I am confident going forward…we have been close before the stadium opened, we have now narrowed the gap financially, so hopefully we can take the next step.

Personally I think we could win the PL this season. We don’t look like a potential winner now, but there we are up the top. It is a long season, and we have a big squad who aren’t going full pelt.

Brick Top
Brick Top
2 months ago
Reply to  at large

We’ll see, he seems to like Kulu a lot. He also likes a big squad with different options

Chirpy
Chirpy
2 months ago
Reply to  East Stand

City and Liverpool had most headed goals last season, so not something to be sniffy about

Follow Us