Stellini reveals which player ‘had to stay calm’ after Tottenham forced to ‘use passion’ to get past West Ham
Tottenham assistant Cristian Stellini urged Son Heung-Min to stay calm after he came off the bench to score in a 2-0 victory over West Ham United.
The north Londoners picked up their third victory in four top-flight games to move into the top four. After a goalless first half Emerson Royal opened the scoring on 56 minutes. And, having replaced Richarlison in the 68th minute, Son put the game to bed just four minutes later.
The triumph means Spurs have now leapfrogged stuttering Newcastle to occupy the final Champions League qualification spot.
Stellini is deputising for Antonio Conte, with the Italian manager still recuperating after surgery. Facing up to the media following the game, he gave an honest assessment of the 90 minutes.
“No, it’s never easy, was a really difficult first half because it was a game that we had players who fight a lot, we choose this type of team for this sort of game,” he told Sky Sports.
“In the second half they played well, our energy was bigger and we produced many situations to score.
“I said that we have to use passion because in this type of game, the time arrives where you can create something.”
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And the 47-year-old paid tribute to the way the squad has responded to the manager being absent.
“We are happy for this win, we have to say thanks to all of the players for their behaviour during the time that Antonio is not with us,” he added.
Tottenham managing amazing Son
The Tottenham revival has come just at the right time, with five clubs vying for the four Champions League places on offer.
It has been an up-and-down campaign for the Lilywhites, with no more than two consecutive league wins since mid September.
Their form has mirrored that of Son’s, who has bagged only five league goals having notched 23 in 2021-2022.
The South Korea international started from the bench and Stellini feels it was the right decision.
“Son stayed on the bench, the moment was important and it was the moment for Son,” he continued. “With the space Son is an amazing player and we try to use him in this way. It was a good idea.”
And the assistant felt it was important that the Asian star kept a level head after being introduced late in the game.
“Son has a goal so we are happy for him,” he said. “He has to stay calm and produced his best performance. At the moment he is not 100% so we have to manage him.”
Conte still in charge
Conte returned to the bench for games against Leicester and AC Milan. But the former Chelsea chief felt he had rushed things a bit and opted to sit this one out.
However, Stellini made it clear that he still had an impact during the contest.
“Conte sent some texts to the bench and they transferred it to me. He is good, he is fine and can be involved in the game so that is fine,” he stated.
“Sometimes I want to do things and I ask him and he allows me and Ryan [Mason] sometimes he tells us to wait and sometimes he asks what we feel about players and their stamina.”