Cristian Stellini has admitted that Antonio Conte has found it difficult to deal with losing so many close friends over the last few months.

The impact of Gian Piero Ventrone’s sudden passing back in October was felt by everyone associated with Tottenham but it was particularly hard on Conte, who had a relationship with the former Spurs fitness coach from his playing days.

Gian Piero Ventrone

(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Conte lost another close friend in Sinisa Mihajlovic last month, with Serbian passing away after a long battle with leukaemia.

Italian journalist Andrea Di Caro told Gazzetta dello Sport recently that the former Bologna manager had even made plans to visit Hotspur Way to watch the Spurs boss’ training sessions just before his demise.

Earlier this week, Conte lost another former teammate and friend in Gianluca Vialli and took to Instagram to admit that the 58-year-old had always been an inspiration for him right from his playing days.

When asked about the impact these losses have had on Conte, Stellini told Football.London: “It’s hard to talk about [Conte losing a number of close friends in recent months].

“Gian Piero (Ventrone) was a really tough moment. Then came the moment of [Sinisa] Mihajlovic. Antonio and Mihajlovic were friends. Now is the moment of Vialli. It is a tough moment. It’s difficult.

“For us to speak about the moment you have in the deep. Antonio is a tough man. Maybe this moment is more closed to show his feelings. Only this. We have to stay close to him, stay together.

“This is a family behaviour. We are, we feel, like a family. After this type of loss, you have to stay so close to show love.”

Stellini suggested that one of the ways that Conte deals with tough moments like these is by pouring himself into football.

He added: “About football? Yes [we speak]. About work? Absolutely, we speak a lot. To speak about other things is more difficult. In the tough moments, maybe you don’t show, or the silence is more than words.

“We are in that moment. He doesn’t drop the intensity. He can find new energy, because this is the type of man. This is Antonio.”

Spurs Web Opinion

We often tend to forget that footballers and coaches are also human beings and are affected just as much as anyone else by the things that happen in their personal lives. Ventrone’s loss would have certainly had a massive impact on the players and the coaching staff, given how close the Italian was with everyone at the club.

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