HomePremier LeagueStellini sends message to furious Tottenham fans: ‘You have...

Stellini sends message to furious Tottenham fans: ‘You have to accept’

Stellini sends message to furious Tottenham fans: ‘You have to accept’

Tottenham’s interim head coach, Cristian Stellini, says fans must accept that Antonio Conte shaped his ideas, but insists the tactics were not to blame for their late collapse against Everton.

Tottenham conceded a 90th-minute equalizer for the second consecutive game in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, dashing any hopes that Stellini would alter Conte’s approach in his first game in sole charge. 

His formation, personnel, and even substitutions were all the same, and Spurs conceded an equalizer in the 90th minute for the second consecutive game.

Stellini assisted Conte at Siena, Juventus, Inter Milan, and Spurs before succeeding him on an interim basis until the end of the season. He has downplayed the likelihood of making significant changes for Saturday’s visit of top-four rivals Brighton, in part due to a depleted squad.

Spurs have blown leads against relegation-threatened opponents in their last two games, and Stellini offered a more measured version of Conte’s criticism of the team’s mentality, stating that the players’ minds were the key to improvement.

“You have to accept that I was an assistant manager for a long time with Antonio, so we have to accept that my mind came from this history,” Stellini said. “I don’t think that as a manager, if you change something, you have a different result [at Everton]. It is in the mind of the players and in the way you want to play a match that changes this.

“It is not because you play with six strikers that you can attack better. Maybe you have to use the right way to attack and to keep position and to let the players understand which type of game are you playing. It is like when you play with one player more, you have to understand the game you have to play.

“This is much more important. This is about experience, this is about a moment you have to live and all the players have to think the same thing in the right moment, in the same moment. This is very important.”

Following his final game in charge at St. Mary’s, Antonio Conte claimed the players were “selfish” and did not like playing “under pressure.”

Stellini is confident that the team is “coming to understand” what is expected of them and believes they must be more inventive going forward.

“We have a good squad, we have players with great experience and if they live the reality and realise what the reality is at the moment, they can react in the right way,” he said.

“This is what I expect from our team and I am confident on this aspect that they could do a good job because I look into their faces every day, I train them and I think they are coming to realise what is the reality now.

“We have something to do better, and something to follow what we are doing. If you are good to do better something and to be more creative in the attacking play, we can do a good job.”

Saturday’s match against an eye-catching Brighton side led by Roberto De Zerbi, who is a candidate to replace Antonio Conte permanently in the summer, will put Stellini’s approach under the microscope.

Stellini first met the Seagulls manager as a player in 2009, when his Bari side faced De Zerbi’s Avellini; he has been incredibly impressed by the 43-year-old since he took over for Graham Potter in September.

“When he was a player he was aggressive. I challenged him sometimes and he was really aggressive,” Stellini said. “He was a good No10-striker. He was good technically but very aggressive in the way he played and also talented.

“I don’t know how he is as a manager. I met him sometimes but I didn’t speak a lot with him. For sure his results were every time good results. He gave to his team a good characteristic. He’s very strong in the way he wants to play.

“De Zerbi is not fluid [tactically] like Potter,” Stellini added. “De Zerbi is more a manager consistent in the way he wants to hurt the opponent. He is more focused with the ball and what they can do with the ball and being aggressive when they lose the ball. Potter was more fluid in the change of system but the players are smart to do it. You have to create intelligent player to do it.

“He improved a lot. He has a great personality like a manager and he arrive here in a new country and quickly he put his sign on his team. That is not easy for everyone and De Zerbi show also in England, in the Premier League he is a great manager.”

Stellini sends message to furious Tottenham fans: ‘You have to accept’

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