Conte’s deputy at Tottenham: “In any case, everyone in the staff is ready to transfer Antonio’s ideas to the players. The trust he has in us is total”
Not even a surgical operation and the removal of the gallbladder can keep Antonio Conte at bay. “Tomorrow we will know if he can be on the bench against Manchester City” said Cristian Stellini, his number two, ready to lead Tottenham in Sunday’s home match against the English champions.
Conte is still in Italy, recovering from surgery, and as complicated as it seems, if the doctor gives the go-ahead, he will try to be at the Tottenham Stadium. Stellini, Conte’s deputy already in his first year at Juve and then again at Inter before the adventure together in London, meanwhile he is preparing to manage the team following the dictates of his boss, with whom he has been in constant contact throughout the week.
Stellini’s job, he himself points out, is to make sure that Conte’s absence is felt as little as possible. “I played for Antonio, I grew up as an assistant under him – the 48-year-old tells in the Tottenham training center, in an always confident English -: I know his mentality well, what he wants from the team. Everyone in the staff is ready to transfer Antonio’s ideas to the players. It’s easier for me because I know him very well, but right now all of us on the staff are trying to level up and give our best. We’re more focused than usual on doing his job, even if it’s impossible to replicate that fire that Antonio brings to training every day. But he texted me that he has complete faith in all of us.”
Stellini also tells how Tottenham discovered the seriousness of Conte’s condition. “He wasn’t well already last week, but we thought it was flu, because he was going around among the players-he says-. Then on Sunday she found out what he had and called me to explain the situation: he was the first to be surprised and disappointed. But the first thing he told me was that we had to keep working: we talked constantly, except when he had surgery. But as soon as he recovered he explained to me how to prepare for the match, what to keep an eye on in training, what to transfer to the players and how to prepare the team for the difficult match against City. However, Antonio knows well what happened to him, that he underwent an operation: he must be careful, but the most important thing is that he recovers as soon as possible ”.
ON THE BENCH
Conte underwent surgery on Wednesday: if he returned on Sunday, it would be a quick recovery. Tottenham are ready for anything: not having him, having him half-service in the stands, seeing him sitting on the bench managing the team as if nothing had happened. In the meantime, it is Stellini who directs the works, who seeks the right compromise between following Conte’s instructions to the letter, who follows the training sessions even from a distance and constantly communicates with his staff, to read those sensations that can only be grasped live. “It’s obvious that I have more responsibilities this week – explains Stellini -, but I’ve known Antonio for a long time and it’s not difficult for me to follow his instructions. We talked about everything from how to tackle City to possible starters. I feel more responsibility, but I realized that those around me also feel it a lot. And the match helps: knowing that you have to give more when you face a big beast like Manchester City is practically taken for granted.” Stellini is ready for anything: if he were to manage the team against the English champions on Sunday, Conte knows very well that his Tottenham would be in excellent hands.
February 3, 2023 (change February 3, 2023 | 16:25)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED