Cristian Stellini admits Tottenham have chronic ‘hunger’ problems ahead of Wolves

Tottenham’s surprise 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United in the FA Cup was a bitter pill to swallow for Cristian Stellini.

Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini says the club needs a change of culture if they are to win big trophies.

Spurs last won a major title in 2008-when they  lifted the League Cup- now the Carabao Cup after beating Chelsea 2-1.

Since then, it’s been one heartbreak after the other, a Champions League final defeat to Liverpool in 2019 is easily highlighted, but there was a late Premier League collapse in 2016 after looking like they would beat Leicester to the title at some stage that season, an unlikely draw at Stamford Bridge handed the Foxes the title.

Under Jose Mourinho- Spurs reached the League Cup final but they sacked the serial winner days to the final at Wembley against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City with Ryan Mason in charge.

The latest ‘spursy’ incident was the crushing 1-0 defeat of Championship side Sheffield United days after they had beaten Chelsea to strengthen their grip of fourth position.

Assistant manager Cristian Stellini says the nature of defeats in high profile games is hard to explain as it needs addressing if the club is to transform into a winning machine.

He told reporters ahead of the visit to Wolves this weekend: “This is the most difficult thing [hunger], you have to find this inside you, the dressing room, inside of the players, inside of the staff, inside of the club.

“Because everyone participates to create this kind of atmosphere and how important it is to win games and to win in general. And how you feel when you don’t win a game because this is important for the atmosphere for the next game.”

Antonio Conte and his coaching staff have a reputation for being absolute winners- and have been backed by their title winning campaign at Chelsea in the Premier League and winning Inter Milan’s first league title in a decade.

Antonio Conte, manager of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Antonio Conte, manager of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Antonio Conte, manager of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

But they face the biggest challenge of their coaching careers yet in trying to reset the culture at N17. Stellini himself has lost his 100% winning record that was so dear to him in the Sheffield defeat but admits the bigger issue is to be able to learn quickly from the recent setbacks that has undermined their hard work since they arrived.

He added: “I don’t know what happened. I know what’s happening now and I know what I want to change, the way we want to change.

“We must live the experience and learn from the experience. We had the experience last season and we have to learn from that. This is the starting point we will see what happens in the future.

“The mentality is the reality we showed in the last game. This is the mentality, the approach was not good. It’s not the mentality we need. We have to change from this starting point to the future.

“What happened in the past is done, finished. We have to start from now. I’m not here to analyse what happened in the last 10 years. I’m here to analyse what happens from now into the future.

“Every game is different but the approach has to be the same against every team and in every type of competition.”

Tottenham are fourth on the league table with 45 points, four ahead of Newcastle who take on Manchester City this weekend.

Antonio Conte was expected back in London this week- but the Italian manager has had to stay in Turin on the advice of the club’s medical department.

Stellin says he’s seen him on video calls and that his boss is fit as a fiddle and can’t wait to be back on Sunday.

“I’ve seen him from a video call and he feels better. He feels like in charge. He feels ready to come back. He cannot wait for the moment to come back,” Stellini added.

“His frustration at not being here is huge so I feel he is better and ready. He is exercising, he speaks with the players every game before the game on the video.”

Conte’s long-term future at the club still remains uncertain but you get the feeling a lot will ride on that crucial Champions League spot- if he can get them to bag another right to rob shoulders with Europe’s best clubs then you reckon he’d stay for another season.