EPL

Stellini tries to promote unity following explosive end to Conte's reign

By Sports Desk March 30, 2023

Tottenham interim head coach Cristian Stellini attempted to promote togetherness after Antonio Conte's reign came to an end in explosive fashion.

Conte was dismissed on Sunday after a week of intense speculation suggesting the club's hierarchy were going to dismiss him.

The Italian had blasted his players in an extraordinary rant eight days earlier following Spurs' 3-3 draw with Southampton, a game that saw them throw away a 3-1 lead.

That outburst, coupled with recent poor form and reports neither he nor the club wanted to agree a new contract, ultimately led to Conte's exit.

But his assistant, Stellini, has stayed on to take charge until the end of the season, and his first task is to rebuild morale and trust with the squad and fans.

"We know when you're not winning or [when you] lose games, the fans are unhappy," he told SPURSPLAY ahead of his first game at the helm on Monday away to Everton.

"It's normal and we have to accept this. All the staff, the players, we want to work hard until the end of the season, because this is our club, and we want to bring everyone with us. This is important for the next 10 games.

"I feel very honoured and feel I'm in the right position to do this. I feel that, and I want to do this with all the staff, with Ryan [Mason, assistant head coach], that's very important for me and the club, and it was important when we were in charge when Antonio wasn't here [when Conte had time away due to illness].

"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."

Spurs are fourth in the Premier League with 49 points from 28 games, but Newcastle United are only two points behind and have two matches in hand.

Related items

  • Joe Gomez knows trophies will not make Reds boss Jurgen Klopp change his mind Joe Gomez knows trophies will not make Reds boss Jurgen Klopp change his mind

    Liverpool defender Joe Gomez admits winning more trophies will not change manager Jurgen Klopp’s mind about leaving at the end of the season.

    Klopp rated the 1-0 Carabao Cup victory over Chelsea as “the most special” silverware he had won after his team overcame an injury crisis – 11 first-team absentees became 12 when Ryan Gravenberch was carried off after 30 minutes – to triumph with four academy players on the pitch at the end.

    The German was emotional as he celebrated on the pitch with his squad and backroom staff in front of their fans after being encouraged by matchwinner and captain Virgil van Dijk to join him in lifting the trophy at the presentation.

    But Gomez said even the manner in which they won the game, deep into extra time, and the scenes afterwards will not persuade Klopp to change his mind.

    “Nah, definitely not,” said the defender.

    “Understanding how long he’s been here, I think he knows he has done everything he can. He has won it all. Everyone respects his decision and we understand it.

    “He is one of the wisest men we know and when he says he’s ready, he’s ready. It is what it is, we can’t dwell on that, we just have to do him justice.”

    Asked whether there was extra incentive for the squad to give their much-loved boss a trophy-laden farewell – they are still competing in three other competitions – Gomez added: “It’s kind of like it is obvious, it doesn’t need to be spoken about.

    “Everyone knows about the importance and we get that aura anyway in team meetings at the minute.

    “We know it’s that last hurrah and we just want to give our all for him. We always did but now when the finishing line is in sight it adds that extra emphasis.

    “It’s special and hopefully it’s the first of a few we can get this year.”

    Liverpool currently lead the Premier League by a point from Manchester City and are one of the favourites for the FA Cup and Europa League as for the second time in three seasons they attempt to chase an unprecedented quadruple.

    Two years ago they finished with a domestic cup double, missing out on the title by a point and losing the Champions League final by a solitary Real Madrid goal, but Gomez is hoping they can do even better.

    “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but we are in every competition and we are going to try to win every game. That’s the target and we will go again,” he said.

    “We have a game again in three days (a home FA Cup tie against Southampton) so we’ll have to band the boys together and see what we can do.”

  • Football rumours: Manchester United in the hunt for Ross Barkley Football rumours: Manchester United in the hunt for Ross Barkley
    What the papers say

    Luton midfielder Ross Barkley, 30, is a surprise target for Manchester United, reports The Sun. The former Everton player previously had a spell at Nice, where Sir Jim Ratcliffe is owner.

    Ratcliffe wants United to draw up a new pay structure. According to the Daily Mirror, the new investor wants salaries to be more dependent on success.

    Arsenal are targeting teenage striker Kenan Yildiz, although Juventus have set an asking price of £51million, according to The Sun. The 18-year-old has made 15 appearances for the Italian side since joining from Bayern Munich.

    West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta, 26, could be a target for Manchester City. The Daily Telegraph reports the Brazilian is a possible replacement for Bernardo Silva, 29, if he leaves the club.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Jack Harrison: The winger, 27, wants to stay at Everton when his loan move from Leeds ends in the summer, according to Football Insider.

    Evan Ferguson: Arsenal are keeping tabs on the 19-year-old Brighton and Republic of Ireland striker, reports Football Insider.

  • Calvin Bassey: Fulham ‘wanted’ victory more than Manchester United Calvin Bassey: Fulham ‘wanted’ victory more than Manchester United

    Goalcorer Calvin Bassey felt Fulham just “wanted it more” than Manchester United after the Londoners claimed a shock win at Old Trafford.

    Alex Iwobi struck in the seventh minute of stoppage time as the Cottagers killed off a late United fightback to snatch a last-gasp 2-1 victory in the Premier League on Saturday.

    Fulham had been course for what seemed a deserved success courtesy of Bassey’s opener but United produced a strong finish and Harry Maguire appeared to have salvaged a point for the hosts in the 89th minute.

    Yet while United pushed for a late clincher themselves, they were caught on the counter-attack and Iwobi capitalised to secure his side’s first win at Old Trafford since 2003.

    “I don’t think you can just come here and overrun them,” said defender Bassey, whose goal was his first for the club. “You can see the quality of the players they have.

    “They have got top players and a top manager and players that can have an effect off the bench, but we were just at it more and I felt we wanted it more. That showed in the way we played.

    “(The equaliser) was a bit annoying, but we had done so well to even get 1-1, so then it was about making sure we didn’t leave with nothing. But then we got a chance and we were able to bury it.”

    Mid-table Fulham’s victory was only their second in their last six games in what has been an inconsistent season but Bassey hopes a corner has been turned.

    “It is always nice to win a game and hopefully we can keep this momentum going,” the Nigeria international said.

    The result put an end to United’s four-game winning run in the league and dented their hopes of reaching the top four.

    Maguire feels the team need to get it out of their system quickly ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup trip to Nottingham Forest and then the derby against Manchester City next weekend.

    The England centre-back told MUTV: “We know it’s going to be a tough game in midweek. Our full focus is on that one. We’ve got to bounce back.

    “A big reaction is needed. It’s going to be a tough game, but one that we got to go there and produce a performance like we did there last year.”

    Maguire admitted United were caught out in the end by Fulham but said pushing for the win seemed the right approach at the time.

    He said: “This season we’ve scored numerous late goals, numerous late winners. So we had great belief that we were going to go on to win the game.

    “Obviously in hindsight now we can all sit here and say that we should have been more cautious, we were far too naive.

    “We can look back and I’m sure we’ll assess it in terms of areas that we can improve on but, ultimately, over the 90 minutes we didn’t do enough to win the game.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.