Stellini reveals ‘Conte is back’ with Tottenham squad and praises Pedro Porro ahead of West Ham clash

Harry Watkinson
Spurs assistant manager Cristian Stellini

Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini has been back on press conference duties, with Antonio Conte now back in London, who could make his return to the Spurs bench on Saturday.

Conte recovered quickly from having surgery to remove his gallbladder when against his doctor’s advice, he was in the dugout for their 4-1 defeat to Leicester City.

However, after a post-op check in Milan, it was announced that the Spurs manager would manager would remain in Italy while he fully recovers.

But now, he has quickly returned to Tottenham Hotspur training, and there is a chance that he could be on the sidelines for their match against West Ham on Saturday.

Stellini said: “Antonio is back. This morning on to the pitch with us. He will have to take it easy for a bit. We were so happy to have him back on the training ground.

“He took time to hug every player. We didn’t speak about what he would do in the next match but he is back [with us]. We have time to be ready.”

Stellini was then asked whether he had changed from Conte’s tactics during his game in charge against Manchester City, to which he responded: “Our tactics came from what Antonio wanted. We continued that.

“Me and Ryan Mason, we spoke immediately during the game that we needed to change something and we decided to have Eric Dier being more aggressive in dealing with Bernardo Silva (who was operating between the lines) and that is all we changed.”

The assistant coach was also questioned on if Conte had spoken to him about his future beyond this season, amid speculation that he could leave Tottenham.

He said: “No, we never talk about that. We are so focused on the moment and the next game, the next training and the next step. We have to do it. The next solution we have to create and build within the team. We have never spoken about this.”

“In football you cannot be relaxed if you have a contract or not. You have to work hard and when you approach the next game, you can’t be relaxed and you live this with energy because you want to win.

“This is our life, this is football, this is sport, you think about the next target and objective you want to achieve.”

After Hugo Lloris was ruled out for around eight weeks with an injury a week ago, Fraser Forster has stepped in for Spurs. In response, Stellini has been very complimentary about his performances on the pitch and in training.

“I like Fraser like a man because his behaviour this season was perfect. He trained so hard and in this he also pushed Hugo to train hard.

“We mustn’t forget that we have men before we have players and I like Fraser. Physically he’s perfect for the Premier League and the style we have. He can also use both feet and it will be interesting to see him for the next few weeks.”

Stellini was also questioned on Cristian Romero, who has faced criticism recently for being overly aggressive.

He responded:  “If you get a yellow it’s because you did not get the ball. You have to work on the timing. He has to jump and tackle and win the ball. This is something we can work on. We will work on this aspect but keeping the same aggressiveness.”

Finally, when asked if Pedro Porro could feature against West Ham on Saturday, Stellini said: “He can bring very good skill, he can bring experience.

“He’s a young player with great experience. Technically he’s a fantastic player. His enthusiasm to play in a new league, a new team, could be a boost for us when we decide to use him.”

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