As Tottenham’s search for silverware extends for another season, Spurs are now also searching for a new manager after Antonio Conte’s departure. The Italian coach seemed destined to exit the club after taking a swipe at their owners following his last match in charge – a 3-3 league draw with Southampton.
Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini has been thrown into the spotlight at the midway point of his club’s chaotic 2022/23 season. With a handful of games remaining this season, Spurs have named Stellini as interim manager while looking to find a long-term replacement for the Italian, and also while Conte searches for a job of his own.
Spurs have handed Stellini with the task until the end of season
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Who is Cristian Stellini?
Born in the Italian town of Cuggiono, Stellini enjoyed a low-profile playing career. Stellini’s elevation to manager comes after serving as Tottenham’s assistant coach for the past two years.
During a senior playing career which dated from 1992 to 2007, defender Stellini most frequently played for Ternana, Como and later Genoa. He got a big move to Juventus in 2003, but suffered a leg injury and would only play for the Bianconeri twice.
Stellini then joined Conte’s Juventus coaching team in 2011 but lasted just a year before stepping aside after allegations of match-fixing during his final years as a player. He was later handed a two-and-a-half-year suspension from all football activities.
The Italian maintained his innocence throughout and would return to coaching in 2015 with Genoa’s youth team. In 2017, Stellini then secured his first head coaching role with Serie C team Alessandria but was sacked after just five months in charge.
Two years later, Conte and Stellini would reunite at Inter Milan with the latter serving as an assistant – a role Stellini would also occupy during Conte’s time at Spurs. Stellini would become Conte’s assistant at Inter where they won the Serie A title before joining Spurs in late 2021, helping the club qualify for the Champions League after a terrible start under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Cristian Stellini’s tactics and style of play
Antonio Conte’s tactics with Spurs have come under fire in recent months amid an inconsistent run of five wins and five losses from their last ten games in all competitions.
Rival Premier League sides like Arsenal and Manchester United have developed attractive styles this season, while Spurs have relied on Conte’s 3-4-3 formation for chance creation.
However, Stellini is cut from the same cloth as Conte and defended the style of play back in November, saying: “I watch many games and in this particular last month it’s not easy to find attractive football because many teams, maybe the best teams in this league, but in all the leagues in Europe, we are playing a lot, and you sometimes have to maintain the energy.
Cristian Stellini’s career
Having previously only taken charge of teams on two occasions, Stellini’s coaching record is pretty sparse. His time with Alessandria was particularly forgettable and saw him remain manager for just 142 days.
Stellini would work as a youth coach at Genoa for two years before becoming manager of Piedmont side Alessandria in 2017. He was sacked having managed just two wins from 14 games.
Conte’s ex-right-hand man was raised in Italy and spent his teenage years playing for Novara and Spal before making the switch to Serie C2 outfit Ternana in October 1996.
However, he has previously filled in for Conte on the touchline. The fiery Italian has picked up suspensions in the past and Stellini successfully filled the manager void with three victories while at Inter.
Cristian Stellini’s career in numbers
When Conte needed gallbladder surgery in early 2023, Stellini was again thrown into some challenging waters, this time against Manchester City. However, the north Londoners effectively nullified Erling Haaland and company to secure a 1-0 victory. Former Premier League midfielder Ryan Mason will be the Italian’s assistant head coach as the pair look to rejuvenate Spurs and finish in this season’s Champions League spots.