‘We are Tottenham’: Stellini urges his players to kick off run-in with win against ‘very good’ Brighton

News Desk
Cristian Stellini gestures during a match

Interim head coach Cristian Stellini wants to see Tottenham “hurt” Brighton in their Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon.

Spurs were dealt further blows this week when Everton’s late leveller in Monday’s clash was followed by top-four rivals Newcastle, Manchester United and Brighton all winning their games in hand in midweek.

It has increased the pressure on Tottenham, who host Brighton this weekend and know defeat to Roberto De Zerbi’s high-flying Seagulls would be another nail in the coffin for their Champions League qualification hopes.

Stellini acknowledged: “This game is really important for us because it came after two drawn matches. Matches we could win.

“It’s very important to play a great match against Brighton that is a tough team in this moment since Christmas. First in the league for chances created from open play, passes attempted and shots on target.

“It is a team with the ball that is very good, with a great manager that arrives here and is quickly doing a great job. We knew this manager for a long time because he’s an Italian guy.

“We respect him and Brighton, but we are Tottenham and we play in our stadium, so we have to play stronger, play in our way and in a way we can hurt them. We know very well which is this way and we are well prepared to play.

“Yes, we speak a lot about this but also we deserve to find the way to be Tottenham and to play the football that is strong in the tackle, strong in the pressure and strong with the ball. We have to be complete.”

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Tottenham’s poor form throughout March has seemingly caught up with them and they are now fifth, but having played more games than their nearest rivals for the top four.

It was put to Spurs’ acting head coach Stellini that success would be qualifying for any European competition at the end of this season.

“Tottenham has to play for the top four every time. Until the maths says something different, we have to play strong to arrive for the top four,” the 48-year-old insisted.

“Yes, we lose the control because we draw two matches. If we won the last two matches we were in control.

“Now, we lose the control and we have also some important matches to play against teams who fight with us for fourth place.

“Every time when we have this possibility, if you go stronger and you play well, you can do it.”

Stellini stuck to Antonio Conte’s favoured 3-4-3 formation at Goodison Park and there appears no suggestion that will change any time soon.

But he hinted that a tweak of the system had been prepared before unavailability hurt Tottenham’s cause.

“We have a lot of injuries and it doesn’t allow us to change anything tactically,” Stellini added.

“We’ve been preparing for a system in the last month but the injury situation means we cannot use it so we have to calm down now and we have to be patient and lucid.”

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