Paulo Fonseca reveals his Spurs move fell through because Fabio Paratici wants DEFENSIVE football  

Paulo Fonseca reveals he had already started pre-season planning before his Tottenham move fell through because new director of football Fabio Paratici wanted to play DEFENSIVE football  

  • Paulo Fonseca agreed to become Tottenham boss before the move broke down
  • The Portuguese coach began talks with Spurs at the beginning of June
  • Fonseca revealed Fabio Paratici arrived at Spurs to tell him to play defensively
  • The 48-year-old turned down the move as he only uses an attacking philosophy 







Paulo Fonseca has revealed his move to Tottenham fell through at the last minute because sporting director Fabio Paratici wanted Spurs to play defensive football this season.

The Portuguese coach, who left Italian side AS Roma this summer, was in the latter stages of negotiations to become Jose Mourinho’s replacement when the plan to hire him was botched, as revealed by Sportsmail on June 17.

Former Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed a fortnight later, just days before the club’s pre-season campaign was due to start.

Paulo Fonseca revealed his move to Tottenham broke down as Spurs wanted a defensive coach

Spurs appointed Nuno Espirito Santo (above) two weeks after Fonseca’s move collapsed


Still unemployed after his departure from Roma, Fonseca revealed new Spurs football chief Paratici came in during the middle of negotiations and told owner David Levy and sporting director Steve Hitchen to not appoint him as he wanted to bring attacking football. 

‘The agreement was done,’ Fonseca told The Telegraph. ‘We were planning the pre-season and Tottenham wanted an offensive coach. 

‘It wasn’t announced but we planned pre-season players. But things changed when the new managing director (Paratici) arrived and we didn’t agree with some ideas and he preferred another coach.

‘I have some principles. I wanted to be coach of the great teams but I want the right project and a club where the people believe in my ideas, my way to play, and this didn’t happen with the managing director.

‘It’s what the chairman and the sporting director asked for. To build a team who can play attractive and offensive football and I was ready for that. I cannot be a different way. 

‘All my teams will have these intentions. In Rome or Shakhtar in the Champions League against the biggest teams, I’m not sending out my teams to defend near their own box.’

Fonseca said Spurs sporting director Fabio Paratici (right) wants Tottenham to be defensive

 New Spurs boss Santo enjoyed a positive start to life at Tottenham, winning his first three Premier League matches against Manchester City, Wolves and Watford 1-0, but 3-0 losses to Chelsea and Crystal Palace have set their progress back. 

This month, Tottenham drew their first Europa Conference League match with Rennes 2-2 and achieved the same result against Wolves in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third round tie, but went through to round four on penalties.

Santo has been criticised on occasions for his lack of attacking football after some questionable results. Tottenham star striker Harry Kane had just three touches in the opposition penalty area in the loss to Chelsea after being deployed in a deeper role. 

Fonseca, who won three Ukrainian Premier League titles at Shakhtar and has also managed the likes of FC Porto and Braga in his career, believes that his attacking style of play will go to the grave with him and believes players are happier playing positive football. 

Fonseca revealed he would never send out a team to ‘defend on the edge of their own box’

‘All players want to have the ball,’ he added. ‘They want to dominate. They want to participate. They don’t want to run to recover the ball. They don’t want to run without the ball and defend. The best way to defend is to have the ball.

‘We have an obligation with supporters to create a spectacle, a good show. That is the obligation of the coach. I want to win every game but just winning is not enough for me. 

‘I have to be offensive and dominate the games and have an offensive midfield and show courage in the game. These are things which will die with me.

‘It happened so many times when I got home after winning a game and my wife asked ‘why are you unhappy?’ And it is because I didn’t win the way I wanted to. It is not enough. I have to create a good show for the people who pay the tickets and love football. At least I try. I cannot be a coach in another way.’

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