Cristian Stellini admits admiring ‘great manager’ Graham Potter before showdown
Tottenham assistant Cristian Stellini has spoken of his admiration for Chelsea boss Graham Potter and revealed he has studied the under-pressure manager since arriving in England.
With Antonio Conte still in Italy recovering from gallbladder surgery, his number two Stellini is again set to patrol the touchline for Sunday’s match and will come directly up against Potter.
Potter has faced plenty of criticism since he swapped Brighton for Chelsea in September and last weekend’s home defeat by Southampton made it one victory in 10 matches, but he has an unlikely ally in Conte’s trusted assistant.
“I studied Potter since I arrived here because he was a manager that was at Brighton last season and I followed Brighton a lot,” Stellini revealed.
“It surprised me the way they play, the way they changed system many times and the way they were good to challenge with Potter.
“We played many games against them and every game was different so to understand the decisions he took last season was really interesting for me. For sure he is a great manager.”
A small section of Chelsea supporters chanted for Potter to leave after their latest defeat and Spurs could move 14 points ahead of their London rivals with victory this weekend.
Stellini preferred not to directly speak about the form of Sunday’s opponents but insisted everyone needs patience.
He added: “I don’t know about Chelsea but I know that every team, every club, every season is different. You have to take care and don’t go rushing in the way you want the team to get the result.
We played many games against them and every game was different so to understand the decisions he took last season was really interesting for me. For sure he is a great manager
Cristian Stellini on Graham Potter
“The result sometimes depends not on how better you are at your job or how you are working well but maybe different team needs more time. It depends.
“Sometimes you have to be patient. You have to wait for the right moment, the result arrives also if you are not expecting.
“Last season we struggled a lot until February but after that the team changed. It is not every time the same, the coach has to wait for the team to play and continue to work and be confident in his job.”
Stellini has worked for a long time with the extremely animated Conte, who regularly displays his emotions on the touchline and in press conferences.
Potter’s mantra is in contrast to the Tottenham boss or his predecessor Thomas Tuchel and a recent line of questioning of the Chelsea manager has been over his lack of anger.
“Sometimes I get angry. With my children more than anything,” father-of-three Stellini joked.
🎙 “When he is back, I think the impact of Antonio will be incredible...”
Cristian Stellini gives an update on Antonio Conte's situation during today's press conference 💙
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 24, 2023
“Everyone is different. Also in Italy we have coaches who show a different behaviour so it is not important. What is important for me is that our players play a great match.
“Anger sometimes comes from love, also a manager, if he loves his team and he loves his job, sometimes he is angry. Maybe you don’t have to show this anger because you have it inside and you transfer it to your team after.”
Fireworks occurred between the teams during the draw at Stamford Bridge in August when Tuchel and Conte clashed, but with the duo absent for different reasons this time, no repeat is expected on Sunday.
Stellini said: “They are more friends than they showed in that moment. They respect each other a lot. I know this very well.”