Cristian Stellini breaks silence on Conte exit; reveals how Tottenham players will react to top-four ‘fight’

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte (right) and Tottenham Hotspur assistant head coach Cristian Stellini (left)

Interim Tottenham boss Cristian Stellini has broken his silence on the ‘sad’ exit of Antonio Conte but insists the players will ‘fight’ to secure a top-four finish this season.

Spurs opted to part ways with Conte on Sunday evening ‘by mutual consent’ after the Italian’s position was untenable following his infamous rant at the players in the wake of the 3-3 draw at Southampton prior to the international break.

Stellini has been appointed as Spurs’ caretaker manager for the remainder of the season and will be assisted by Ryan Mason, who took temporary charge following Jose Mourinho’s acrimonious exit in 2021.

Stellini has worked alongside Conte at both Inter Milan and Tottenham. However, the Italian insists their relationship will not change, despite replacing his friend as manager.

“I’m feeling sad, because when you have a managerial change in the middle of the season, everyone feels responsible,” Stellini told SpursPlay.

“My relationship with Antonio is again the same, nothing changes in our relationship because we were friends, we were colleagues, we know each other for a long time and having this situation would not change our relationship.”

While much of the focus is now on who Tottenham will appoint in the summer, Spurs are currently clinging onto the final Champions League spot. However, Newcastle and Brighton could both overtake them if they win their games in hand.

Having exited both the FA Cup and the Champions League in a matter of days earlier this month, the main focus is now on securing that top-four spot in north London.

And Stellini added: “I feel very honoured and feel I am in the right position to do this.

“I want to do this with all the staff, with [assistant head coach] Ryan [Mason] that is very important for me and the club and it was important when we were in charge when Antonio wasn’t here.

“We feel we can do what we did before, we want to improve, and this is a moment to take responsibility and to improve, all together.

“We have to continue the job. If we are here, it is because we did a good job. And if we are here is because we have to make this decision and make this real because we will work well in that moment.”

Tottenham players ready to respond after Conte exit

Stellini also insists that the much-criticised Tottenham players will do everything that can to make sure they produce a strong finish to the campaign.

He added: “The players, us and everyone in the club has to do something more to help the club to help the players, to help the team because we need a team and we want to show to everyone that we are a team again.

“Everyone needed to understand the situation, needed time to understand situation. But the players are coming back, they want to fight, this is what they want to do.

“It’s very important to show our desire. This is the focus at the moment of the players and we don’t have to be emotional, but we have to be lucid in the way we have to fight against every opponent.

“There are 10 games left, and those 10 games are 10 finals for us.

“We have to play with personality. We don’t want to do it for vanity, we have to do if for the club for the fans, for our self and our families.

“This is the way we have to approach it in the game. If we show this, we will have everyone with us and the energy we can create can be bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Tottenham are back in action when they face a tricky trip to Everton on Monday evening.

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