Patrice Evra has admitted he devastated Tottenham Hotspur before Manchester United hired Antonio Conte, claiming he is ‘addicted’ to football and a born winner.
Conte has been a revelation in north London since replacing Nuno Esprito Santo last November.
The Italian had long been linked with the Manchester United role, but even though the Red Devils left the company with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at around the same time Nuno left Tottenham, the Lillewhites bounced first.
The presence of Fabio Paratici – with whom Conte worked at Juventus – is also likely to be a major factor, with Fabrizio Romano commenting on the Italian director’s masterstroke in May.
Another person the former Inter manager worked with in Turin is Evra, who spent two and a half years with the Serie A giants.
And the former France international is disappointed that United could not find him before Tottenham.
He told The Mirror: “It hurts my heart. Because I think Conte, Klopp, Guardiola – all those managers are the best in the world at the moment and we could have had them at Manchester United.
“So this manager is a genius. When I got to Juventus, every player said to me: ‘Patrice, this guy is a genius. He’s addicted, he’s so obsessed with football. So you’re going to run really hard’ He’s going to make you sweat.
“But if you look at Tottenham fans, they are very happy because when they see players win or lose, they give everything. This is the mindset of Antonio Conte. That’s why I say it hurts. Not because it’s Tottenham – I love every team – but it’s just because Conte could have done something.”
Against the odds, Conte helped propel the North Londoners back into the Champions League, even though Arsenal – who finished fifth – were the prime favorites to claim fourth place at one point.
Is he a genius?
Who knows, but he is an exceptional football manager and with Conte and Paratisi overseeing an excellent transfer window so far, some will improve again next stint against Tottenham.
In other news, ‘incredible’: Laura Woods claims Leeds and Arsenal transfer ‘excited’ her