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Who is Cristian Stellini, Conte’s replacement and Tottenham’s interim head coach?

Stellini has been appointed as Spurs’ caretaker boss after head coach Antonio Conte left the Premier League club “by mutual agreement” on Sunday.

Christian Stellini in the Tottenham hot seat
PAUL CHILDSAction Images via Reuters

Cristian Stellini has taken over as interim head coach at Tottenham Hotspur, after it was confirmed on Sunday that Antonio Conte has left the Premier League club following just 16 months in charge.

Conte goes as Spurs tenure descends into acrimony

Conte had already been all but certain to leave at the end of the season, but has departed now “by mutual agreement” after a breakdown in relations with Tottenham. In an extraordinary press conference after a 3-3 league draw with Southampton just over a week ago, the Italian tore into the culture at Spurs, blaming the club’s lack of a winning mentality and its “selfish” players for its silverware drought.

Stellini, who was number two to Conte at Tottenham, will lead the North Londoners until the end of the season. First-team coach Ryan Mason - who had a short spell as caretaker boss in 2021 - has been appointed as interim assistant coach.

Stellini steps in for Conte again

A long-time assistant to Conte, Stellini already has experience of stepping into his compatriot’s shoes in the Tottenham dugout. In November, the 48-year-old oversaw Spurs’ Champions League victory over Marseille in the absence of the suspended Conte. He then took charge of the first team for five games in February and March, as the former head coach recovered from gall-bladder surgery.

Stellini initially steered Spurs to Premier League victories over Manchester City, West Ham and Chelsea, but his 100% record was punctured at the start of March by a surprise FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United, and a league loss to Wolves.

A former defender, Stellini spent his entire playing career in Italy - chiefly in Serie B, the second tier of Italian league soccer. He did, though, manage 41 top-flight appearances across spells at Como, Modena and Bari.

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Stellini also Conte assistant at Siena, Juve and Inter

After retiring in 2010, Stellini became an assistant coach under Conte at Siena, before joining the Juventus backroom team when the former Bianconeri captain was handed the reins in Turin the following year. However, he left Juve in 2012 after the Italian Football Federation handed him a two-and-a-half-year ban over match-fixing, a suspension that related to his time at Bari at the end of his playing days.

On his return to soccer, Stellini worked as a youth coach at Genoa from 2015 to 2017, before enduring a brief, unsuccessful stint as head coach of third-division Italian club Alessandria. Appointed by ‘I Grigi’ in June 2017, he was sacked just five months later, having won only three games in all competitions.

In 2019, Stellini was reunited with Conte when he was named assistant at Inter Milan. In his two seasons at the San Siro, he helped the Nerazzurri to the 2020/21 Serie A title - the club’s first Italian championship for 11 years.

Stellini then followed Conte to Tottenham in November 2021, when the latter replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as head coach.