Despite missing out on managing Tottenham for most of February, the Premier League is set to nominate Spurs manager Antonio Conte for manager of the month. Conte managed one Premier League game, a 4-1 loss at Leicester City.
Instead, the award, based on club performance in the month, is a credit to Cristian Stellini. Stellini is the acting manager when Conte is unable to be in the dugout. He managed Spurs to three wins while Conte was out. Those were against Manchester City, West Ham and most recently Chelsea.
Stellini’s job with Spurs got the club into the top four, although Newcastle has played two fewer games than Tottenham. Earlier in the season, Conte said finishing top four would be a major challenge.
Regardless, Antonio Conte was never sacked. He remained manager of Tottenham even though he could not be on the sideline. The only reason he was not there was because of health issues. He had gallbladder surgery, and he continues to recuperate in Italy. However, Conte remained in contact with Stellini. He had a say in picking the team and even in-game decisions, such as substitutions.
Therefore, Conte still has a major say in what happens with Tottenham. Moreover, he played a key role in Spurs’ form in February in the Premier League.
Conte up for Premier League manager of the month
Cristian Stellini is in the dugout for Tottenham’s FA Cup tie on Wednesday against Sheffield United. However, Antonio Conte will be back on the sideline soon. His recovery from surgery should have him set for the Wolves clash.
Stellini’s omission from the manager of the month award in place of Conte is a little harsh. However, Stellini has worked under Antonio Conte since 2019 at Inter Milan. Plus, the award does not seem overly important to him. He said the team matured with Conte’s absence, highlighted by the 2-0 win over Chelsea.
“The team react in this way and they take a lot of responsibility,” Stellini said. “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.”
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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