No crisis at Spurs after Conte exit – interim boss

Tottenham acting head coach Cristian Stellini has admitted the club has endured a “chaotic” fortnight but denied Spurs are in crisis after Antonio Conte’s departure.

Conte’s exit was confirmed on Sunday night following an explosive news conference on March 18 in which the 53-year-old criticised Spurs’ owners and the players’ attitude after allowing a 3-1 lead to slip to draw 3-3 at Southampton.

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Stellini was put in temporary charge for the rest of the season alongside assistant coach Ryan Mason but by Wednesday, the club suffered a fresh setback when FIFA announced Spurs’ managing director Fabio Paratici would receive a worldwide ban from football activities.

Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from Italian football in January after his former club Juventus were found guilty of falsifying financial accounts.

After a request from the Italian Football Association, FIFA agreed that suspension would apply globally, throwing Tottenham’s search for a permanent successor into further turmoil with Paratici apparently barred from being involved. Spurs are seeking further clarification from FIFA.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust has expressed “extreme concern” at the club’s current state but reflecting on the past two weeks, Stellini said at a press conference on Friday: “A bit chaotic but we have big shoulders to consider this type of situation. We had an international break and that helped because we had time to think about everything and then the club, everyone of us has to take a decision and the decision was taken for the best of everyone.

“It is not a club in crisis, absolutely not because everyone took the decision for the best. When you follow the process, you are not in crisis and if we have some matters, we have to be compact, we have to stick together, go ahead, continue to move on and play the match.

“It important for us to play matches, try to win matches and show our desire. This is what we do normally. We cannot not be aware of the decision that the club takes but we can be focused only on the pitch. This is our job. So, we are not confused. We are focused on our job.”

Spurs are fourth in the Premier League, two points clear of Newcastle but having played two games more.

Stellini joined the club as Conte’s assistant when he was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor in November 2021.

He took charge when Conte was suspended for a vital Champions League group stage win over Marseille and extended that record with victories over Manchester City, West Ham and Chelsea while Conte was recovering from gallbladder surgery.

Stellini’s final game in charge came as Spurs crashed out of the FA Cup at the fifth-round stage against Championship side Sheffield United.

When asked if was interested in putting himself forward for the job on a permanent basis, Stellini said: “It is the next step to work hard for the next 10 games. This is what I am focused on and nothing has to change in my mind because I am not here for vanity, I am here to do my job.”

– Olley: The inside story of Conte’s exit from Tottenham

Stellini also denied rumours of a dressing-room split after Richarlison took to Twitter to deny he led a revolt against Conte in the days before his departure.

“This is only speculation,” said Stellini. “It is not reality. This is what I feel. You said about Richarlison but this is only speculation. I know very well that the media sometimes need gossip, to have gossip news.

“I am not here to play this game. I am here to say, this is speculation. I want to say to the fans, because you don’t have to follow the speculation news, the gossip news. The reality is the pitch for us, only that.”

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