When Tottenham host West Ham in north London on Sunday afternoon, Cristian Stellini will as soon as once more be the primary man within the dugout.
Earlier this week it was introduced that Spurs head coach Antonio Conte would keep in Italy – following the 1-0 defeat to AC Milan within the Champions League – after an ensuing post-surgery examine. a current gallbladder operation.
And so, all of the sudden, his deputy and compatriot will take the reins for the third time this season.
The primary event got here in a 2-1 Champions League win over Marseille in November, when Conte was pressured to serve a sideline ban, the second was a 1-0 win over Manchester Metropolis within the Premier League on February 5.
Two out of two wins is not unhealthy for a person whose expertise accountable for a group is equal to 5 months accountable for Serie C aspect Alessandria in 2017.
However any suggestion that he’s cashing in on this expertise is rapidly denied. It is about holding the fort, nothing extra.
“My feeling is to not get pleasure from this; my feeling is to be in cost,” he says in an unique interview with sky sports activities at Tottenham’s Hotspur Manner coaching advanced.
“I really feel the strain. It is a second I must develop as a coach and when you need to make essential selections, you need to really feel accountable.
“It is not about me, it is in regards to the membership, the followers, the gamers, our jobs, our lives. It is rather more essential than my emotions.”
It is actually a welcome bonus that he has a direct line to Conte, who retains abreast of group enterprise as he takes time to recuperate at his household house, albeit midway by way of throughout Europe.
The pair – who beforehand labored with one another at Juventus and Inter Milan – are in touch “a number of instances a day”, however whereas Stellini admits Conte wants time to get better sufficiently, he has exhausting to get away from on a regular basis life. day by day functioning of the group.
He continues: “Antonio is recovering and is slightly upset as a result of he cannot be right here with us. However he’s fantastic, bodily. We perceive that he has to get better from the operation and now he has to take his time. .
“We do not know if the ache [he felt during the AC Milan game] got here from stress or the quick time it took him to get better as a result of staying in management and residing soccer as Antonio usually does, it was with ardour and possibly that zeal induced him extra ache. He understands that he got here again too quickly.
“He’s obtainable. We speak in regards to the squad and coaching day by day and a few selections we’ll make collectively.
“However this time is just good for his restoration as a result of when Antonio is away from work he isn’t joyful. He’s happier right here, working with us and with the group. Perhaps that is one other sort of stress, however he must take it simple. I do not know when he’ll be again although.”
So how did the gamers react to Stellini’s intervention on a number of events?
“They’re centered,” says Stellini. “On this side I really feel superb and cozy as a result of after I look the gamers within the eye I really feel that they take extra accountability as a result of Antonio is just not there.
“In addition they deal with me as a result of my relationship with them is particular, like all assistant coach wants. I can really feel the gamers need to do this too as a result of they prefer it after we work collectively.
“It is unusual [to step up] as a result of it is one other job. It was actually unusual to be accountable for a recreation [vs Marseille], however I had the coach with me. Now it is totally different as a result of the coach is just not there, however I really feel Antonio’s presence with me.
“I imply clearly, I am not alone. We handle collectively, we set up every thing collectively and with all of the workers.”
Spurs come into Sunday’s recreation after back-to-back defeats to Leicester and AC Milan and stay fifth within the Premier League desk, regardless of having performed two extra video games than Brighton, who’re 4 factors behind in sixth.
Stellini admits he has seen enhancements within the Milan recreation however is trying to carry his gamers to a brand new stage in opposition to the Hammers, who’ve drawn with Newcastle and Chelsea of their final two league outings.
“We’re unhappy as a result of after Man Metropolis gained we thought we could possibly be a lot better, a lot stronger,” he mentioned.
Tottenham’s subsequent 5 video games
- West Ham (H) – Premier League, Sunday February 19 – Dwell on Sky Sports activities
- Chelsea (H) – Premier League, Sunday February 26 – Dwell on Sky Sports activities
- Sheffield United (A) – FA Cup, Wednesday March 1
- Wolves (A) – Premier League, Saturday March 4
- AC Milan (H) – Champions League, Wednesday March 8
“My feeling was that the sport in opposition to Leicester came about precisely three days earlier than the sport in opposition to AC Milan and that may have an effect on the group. We’ve got to just accept that.
“AC Milan’s efficiency was a lot better than Leicester’s. It was a recreation the place we conceded in a state of affairs we may management and I count on to play a fantastic recreation on Sunday in opposition to West Ham as a result of we’d like and deserve it We need to play a recreation and win.
“We’ve got to watch out as a result of West Ham have a particular talent, they’re sturdy. Not many golf equipment on this league have that sort of talent. They’ve energy, they’re large, they’re sturdy in counter-attacks, sturdy in set -pieces, so will probably be troublesome to play in opposition to them.
“We all know it is a derby in our stadium in entrance of our followers and we need to play a fantastic recreation and present from the beginning that we’re a group.”
In opposition to Milan, the north Londoners began with 22-year-old Oliver Skipp and 20-year-old Pape Matar Sarr in midfield on account of Rodrigo Bentancur’s season-ending ACL damage and a suspension for Pierre -Emile Hojbjerg.
With a touch of a smile, Stellini praises the younger pair and explains how essential they are going to be at a time when the membership goes by way of one thing of an damage disaster, with Hugo Lloris, Ryan Sessegnon and Yves Bissouma all sidelined for lengthy durations, too.
“Rodrigo was an essential participant final season as a result of we achieved our aim with Hojbjerg and Bentancur collectively for a very long time. We’ve got to just accept shedding Bentancur for a very long time.
“It is harmful, however we’re additionally pleased with the performances of Skipp and Sarr in the intervening time. We’ve got two younger gamers prepared. We’ve got mentioned many instances that we belief all younger gamers and likewise Pape and Skippy at the moment are actuality.
“Not solely are they younger gamers, however they’ll play and must play sooner or later. They have been wonderful [against Milan]. They have been utterly centered on the sport and so they by no means obtained out of the sport. They created a fantastic stability for us defensively, offensively and in transition; they stopped the transition from AC Milan on a number of events.”
Whether or not this partnership will proceed within the quick time period stays to be seen, however no matter occurs, the truth that Spurs have a transparent week earlier than they face Chelsea at house subsequent Sunday can solely show helpful for his development.
And with Conte apparently not anticipated to return to Hotspur Manner within the quick future, that point will little question be useful for Stellini and the gamers to attenuate disruption.
“Having a full week to organize for a recreation is essential as a result of you might have little time and in some methods you possibly can’t work when you might have a troublesome schedule the place we play each three days. We’ll use this week not solely to have a time off, but in addition to work in some features to play many video games.”
Spurs are in good fingers in Conte’s absence – and, all good, he may discover them in a good higher place when he returns.
Watch Tottenham v West Ham on Sky Sports activities Premier League Tremendous Sunday from 4 p.m.; kick off 4:30 p.m.
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