Cristian Stellini urges Tottenham mentality shift and insists top-four finish would be successful season


Tottenham stand-in boss Cristian Stellini has insisted that finishing in the top four would make this season a success and says the squad must build a stronger mentality to challenge for trophies.

Spurs crashed out of the FA Cup with a dismal fifth-round defeat by Sheffield United midweek, likely extending their trophy drought into a 15th season, barring a miracle in the Champions League.

Antonio Conte's side host AC Milan in the round-of-16 decider next week, trailing 1-0 from the first leg at the San Siro, and defeat would leave them competing on just one front in the final months of the campaign.

Asked if a top-four finish alone would be a success for the club, Stellini said: "Yes, yes. You have to believe in that. You have to believe in that, believe in yourself and you can change the season in every moment like we did last season.

"Everyone wants [a trophy]," he added. "We have to react immediately because that [Sheffield United] game was not good enough and we don't want to be like this again.

Stand-in boss: Cristian Stellini will take charge of Tottenham again at Wolves on Saturday (PA)
Stand-in boss: Cristian Stellini will take charge of Tottenham again at Wolves on Saturday (PA)

"We don't want to show this to the fans again but we have to create a good mentality in the reality, not only when we speak. Sometimes I feel that we speak too much about trophies and less about the mentality.

"We have to work on this aspect every day and fight against ourselves because when you approach a game like this, you have to fight against you if you think the game will be easy. Never a game and also in the FA Cup will be easy if you play away because eight teams play in the quarter-final and five are not in the Premier League. It is not only for us but everyone."

Stellini and Conte made six changes at Bramall Lane, with Harry Kane, Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski among the players rested against the Championship side.

"It is not about the team selection, it is about the approach, the mentality and the energy you put into the game," Stellini continued. "We had to be better in that time and we had to be better before the game, not after. If you feel hunger after the game, it is too late. You have to feel hunger before the game and not after. This is the point. I don't think this happened because we select this type of squad, but because we didn't approach well."

Conte has been recuperating from gallbladder surgery in Italy but will return to London on Saturday night, after the game against Wolves, and be back at work on Sunday before taking charge of Milan's visit.

Stellini says he expects a reaction from the players against Julen Lopetegui's side and backed Spurs to match the performances in the wins over West Ham and Chelsea.

"[I expect] a great reaction," he said. "My expectation is that tomorrow we play a different game but the same game we played in the league last week and the week before and this month."