Tottenham Hotspur assistant head coach, Cristian Stellini, has opened up on Antonio Conte’s absence from the huge clash in the Champions League this week.
Tottenham take on Marseille tomorrow night in a must-not-lose match in Group D of the Champions League, as Conte’s side look to make it through to the knockouts.
Although it appeared Harry Kane’s last-minute winner had sealed Tottenham’s route through as winners of the group against Sporting Lisbon last week, VAR ruled it out for offside.
As such, any of the four teams in Group D can still finish top on the final day, and Spurs are still at risk of being relegated to the Europa League if they face defeat in France.
With Antonio Conte banned from the dressing room and touchline after his red card last time out, Cristian Stellini took over press conference duties this evening.
When asked about the ban, Stellini said (Football London): “Antonio struggles more when he stays in the stands… He cannot communicate a lot so it’s a struggle.
“He will sit next to Gianluca for sure. I don’t know where. He will be here at the stadium. He will work with us until we arrive here and then we have to stop the communication and then he will stay close to Gianluca.
“We have prepared all the strategies and our strategies are clear. We have to play our match at the best and we all have to do something more to fill the gap.
“We are not allowed to speak with Antonio in half-time. He will stay on the coach with the players [before arriving at the stadium], normally we use a different coach, and then we will divide our way.
“We will go in the dressing room and Antonio will go in another seat. Then 15 minutes after the game we are able to speak again.
“That changes a lot, the presence of a coach like Conte is indespensible, especially in a tough match like this. We have to prepare ourselves.
“Normally in the days before a game he does his preparation alone. Now we have to do it together so it’s very different.
“I’m not alone though. I’ve got the whole staff with people like Ryan Mason.”
Asked about Conte’s Champions League record, he added: “We keep on working hard to improve. Antonio is one of the best in the world and he remains one of the best coaches in the world. He gives the players the best chance to progress. He is always trying to improve like we all are as staff.”
Spurs Web Opinion:
Communication is always difficult with these touchline bans. I sometimes think it’s best to plan strategies beforehand and then let the assistant make a gut call if something unexpected happens. Trying to text and call always seems to send everything into a frenzy, but we shall see.
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