Cristian Stellini has admitted that while Tottenham have to be ‘perfect’ to beat Manchester City, he insisted that winning a big game like the one on Sunday could have a transformative effect on the club’s season.
Some of the doom and gloom that surrounded Spurs a couple of weeks ago has been lifted, owing to back-to-back wins over Fulham and Preston North End, and the arrivals of two new faces in Arnaut Danjuma and Pedro Porro.
However, Antonio Conte may not be present to deliver the pre-match team talk ahead of Sunday’s game, with the Italian recovering after having surgery to remove his gallbladder this week.
Stellini insisted that Tottenham have plenty of other leaders in the dressing room to fill the void left by the Italian.
When asked if the Lilywhites have lost their leader, the Spurs assistant head coach told Football.London: “I don’t know if this is correct that we don’t have leaders.
“There are many types of leaders, not only one type. Yes, we know very well Antonio is a big leader but there is not only the leader who has a fire and transfers this to others,” he explained.
“There are many types of leaders and I think we have many types of leaders in our team. We only have to show this leadership and maybe someone needs time to be perfect in this.
“I think we can [create a siege mentality]. Also because a problem like Antonio in this moment and the fact Antonio is not here create more responsibility for everyone and that can create a mentality different from the past. The players can realise also they can be better in a difficult moment like this.”
This is the second time in little over two weeks that Tottenham and City will come up against one another, and Stellini believes that both teams would have learned a lot about the other from their recent encounter at the Etihad.
When asked about playing City again so soon, the Italian said: “It is an advantage for both teams, it is not only for us. They are a big team, a big beast for everyone and we have to do our best to try to challenge them and win the game. We will do our best for sure.
“You have to be perfect if you want the possibility to win this type of game against this type of team. You have to be perfect in their box and in our box, so in this position of the pitch you decide the game and we have to be perfect in both.”
Stellini admitted that he is in an unfamiliar situation of having to take charge of the preparation for a big game but remarked that a good result on Sunday could completely change the mood around the club.
He added: “This is not a normal situation. I have never lived a situation like this so I don’t have an example to explain… maybe in Inter Milan, we had many times games to change the season. There is normal games and games that can change the season.
“In Inter Milan, I remember when we had the possibility to progress against Barcelona one year, against Shaktar the next year, we did not reach the target but we had another game, very important, against Juventus and we won this game and everything changed.
“We fight every time to reach that target and a big game can create this.
“We had examples in the past and we had examples last season. There was a moment where things changed and we realised now we can reach the target. This could be a moment. We do our best to reach this target and to try to change the season.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I actually think Stellini would be happy that we are going up against City rather than a smaller team as he does not have to do much to get the players up for this kind of game. The home crowd will also be fully behind the team and will be excited about the prospect of seeing the new signings in action.
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