Tottenham Hotspur assistant manager Cristian Stellini assures he is just ‘keeping the chair warm’ for Antonio Conte after a 2-0 win over Chelsea, as the coach is set to return against Milan.
Conte had surgery to remove his gallbladder and rushed his return to the bench, realising after the 1-0 Champions League defeat at San Siro that he should’ve listened to the doctors.
He took more time to rest and recover, leaving assistant Stellini in charge, and it has certainly been effective.
Stellini’s last three games standing in for Conte resulted in victories over Manchester City, West Ham United and today Chelsea.
“Antonio called immediately after the game. He was really happy. Now is the moment and the week that Antonio will be back,” said Stellini in his press conference.
When it was suggested that Tottenham might even play better in Conte’s absence, Stellini took a paternal approach to the situation.
“Yes. It is like a teenager that has to become mature. The team react in this way and they take a lot of responsibility. Everyone, players that play and players that are sometimes not playing. This is why I am glad to stay here and to keep the chair of Antonio warm.”
However, the assistant assured that Conte will be back at the training ground next week and if he might not be there for the FA Cup tie against Sheffield United on March 1, he should be present for the Wolverhampton Wanderers fixture on March 4 and above all to face Milan on March 8.
Milan won the first leg 1-0 in that Champions League Round of 16 tie thanks to an early Brahim Diaz goal.