Antonio Conte & Tottenham: The marriage of an odd couple always destined to end in divorce

Antonio Conte Tottenham 2022-23 HIC 16:9Getty

The boos that greeted the full-time whistle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday night were unsurprising.

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The home fans had just watched a team that had fought so hard to qualify for the Champions League bow out with a whimper. It was undeniably demoralising.

Against a far-from-vintage AC Milan side, they had managed just two shots on target, the first of which had only arrived after an hour of play.

The fans' fury was perfectly understandable, then, their show of dissatisfaction totally justified.

However, it was the air of resignation that had preceded the conclusion of the contest which was truly indicative of the sorry situation Spurs now find themselves in.

When the board was held up signalling six minutes of injury time, there was no collective roar of encouragement, just an eerie silence. THAT was the surprising aspect of Spurs' last-16 exit.

The fans had accepted their team's fate. There was no defiance, no hope, just an air of acceptance of the inevitability of defeat.

They had essentially already given up on their team, and their coach. And they might argue, with a certain degree of validity, because he has long since given up on the club.