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By Martin Graham | 19th Feb 2023
Tottenham Hotspur assistant manager Cristian Stellini has revealed the advice to his boss, Antonio Conte, to stay in Italy to recover until he is 100 percent healthy.
Conte underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder at the start of February but returned almost immediately to the Tottenham Hotspur dugout. However, he remained in Milan, Italy, to consult with the surgeon who carried out the procedure after their 1 – 0 loss to AC Milan in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
The former Juventus manager has since tried to return to the team but his assistant has stated that the medical experts insisted that he recovers before resuming his duties.
“Health is more important than football,” said Stellini. “This is why the club, Antonio and doctors decided to take this responsibility and leave Antonio in Italy. The time he is there will really come down to a feeling from Antonio.
“As he explained, the surgery was not easy, it was emergency surgery and the inflammation was big, and maybe they underestimated the situation. He needs time to be 100 per cent and when Antonio is not 100 per cent he is not Antonio and this creates stress.
“He needs to take it easy again. Antonio’s feeling is that he underestimated the procedure. When he was close to the game, the stress and tension he lives normally creates problems. When he checked with the doctor and the club, the decision was this.”
Stellini has taken charge of the only win that Spurs had in that time and is going to take charge of their weekend game against West Ham United. However, he notes that Conte remains the manager and that every discussion is had with the former Italy national team manager in attendance.
“I have same authority I had before he came back,” he said. “We have a call every day, many times, probably three times per day and every time he wants to come back. He repeats every day I want to come back, how was the training, he wants to organise something.”
Spurs are currently fifth in the Premier League and could miss out on Champions League football next season thanks to Newcastle United’s form.
The Magpies, however, are only two points ahead but have a much better goal difference thanks to their impeccable defence. Stellini will be looking to make a difference in the time Conte is away so that his boss can return to a much better environment to guide them in their last charge to Europe.