Tottenham will hope a meeting between players and staff on Friday morning can act as the catalyst to get their season on track and shut out the growing external noise.
Acting head coach Cristian Stellini has been left to pick up the pieces at Spurs after Antonio Conte’s departure was confirmed last Sunday.
It occurred after an extraordinary post-match press conference at Southampton where he lambasted his own “selfish players”, but immediately after, the majority of them jetted off for international duty and the whole group was only together again for the first time on Friday.
Later in the same day it was confirmed Tottenham’s managing director of football Fabio Paratici had taken a leave of absence but for Stellini, speaking before that decision was made public, the focus has to remain on the pitch with 10 games of their season left.
“We met Friday morning with all the team. We spoke all together,” Stellini revealed.
“The players are in the dressing room all together and they can speak but it was important to speak together because everyone needed clarification and I needed to clarify all the situation that happened in the last week.
“We were in contact during that week and the players were away with their national team and focused on their match but obviously also on what happened here.
“Now we have met, we spoke and we clarified everything. I felt the players are ready to be together and to fight together like a proper team.
“Yes, I see the right attitude, I see we are compact. I see the players they stick together with me and all the staff. We don’t forget that we are here but I have with me Ryan Mason and all the staff.”
Paratici will no longer be an ally for Stellini at Spurs in the short-term after it was agreed for him to step away from his role until April 19.
It was Wednesday when FIFA extended Paratici’s ban in Italy worldwide. The former Juventus chief had initially been given a two-and-a-half-year ban from the game in his home country in January after his old club were found guilty of false accounting by an Italian court.
An appeal with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Federal Court of Appeals has been launched and will be heard on April 19, but this latest news deepens the chaos at the north London club.
It will have a knock-on effect on Spurs’ managerial search with Paratici understood to be drawing up a list of candidates to replace Conte, but the current man in post has no interest in that for now.
Stellini added: “The next step is to work hard for the next 10 games. This is what I’m focused on and nothing has to change in my mind. I’m not here for vanity – I’m here to do my job.
“I have to be myself. Like I said when I was in charge with Antonio in the time when he had the surgery, I use myself, my character and behaviour to manage the team.
“We will see what happens during the process. We have not had many days to work with the team. We only started Friday morning to have the whole team together.
“We had a good session in training and we prepare the next game following what we did in the past. But also in the past I have to be honest, we prepared some changes tactically so we can do it. We are following what we did.”
Conte’s first Premier League match in charge of Spurs was away to Everton and it is the same for Stellini on Monday night, but the former Juventus and Inter Milan assistant conceded he now has to make the big calls himself after his previous five-game stint saw him following the instructions of his old boss.
“No, obviously this is not the time that I have to get advice (from Antonio),” Stellini admitted.
“This is the time to use what I have learned from Antonio. It’s very important.
“We worked with each other for a long time together and I learned a lot from him and I have to bring this with me. For this I have to say thank you to him.”