After doing a lot of thinking on my viewpoints and research on opposing viewpoints, this is where I’m landing on Conte right now.
Conte is not the type of manager you hire unless you’re willing to completely buy in to his dogma. Regardless of the poor recent form (slighlty relieved by the win at Palace), which I do believe Conte must take responsibility for, you can’t give him half-measures and expect him to succeed. You also can’t waver from the all-in strategy during the middle of the project just because it hits a rough patch.
The average manager starts out on a short leash. They have to prove some success with the current squad, and over time they gain more backing as long as they keep improving. If they don’t keep improving, they lose backing. This philosophy makes complete sense in 99% of cases.
Conte is not an average manager, therefore this standard set of rules doesn’t really apply to him. His rulebook, along with the other elite managers, is you get immediate backing, enough time to mold the squad to your exact needs, and then you either keep that backing through success, or you get sacked if you fail. The stakes and risks are decidedly higher with this philosophy, but as the saying goes you can’t steal 2nd base while keeping your foot on 1st.
It remains to be seen where Conte and the club truly stand. The lack of a contract extension up to this point could indicate he doesn’t feel backed or has fallen out of love with the cause. Or it could indicate the club isn’t fully satisfied with his performance and are giving him less leeway. If we split the difference of these theories, then maybe it’s simply that Conte wants reassurance of backing (a.k.a., buy me players first), but Spurs want him to extend before making that reassurance, and it is now a game of who blinks first.
In any case, if you’re going to marry the club to someone like Conte, you have to understand what you’re getting into before tying the knot. This is a passionate but volatile man who takes vows very seriously, and he’s not afraid to divorce if he doesn’t feel they’re being upheld, regardless of whether his feelings are rooted in reality or fantasy. Being annoyed with Conte’s words/actions is like being annoyed at a dog for barking – this is who is his, right or wrong, for better or worse.