Tottenham fans stunned at Conte’s Manager of the Month shortlist nod… despite only attending one DEFEAT after surgery

GOT SOME GALL CRISTIAN STELLINI might have been in charge for all three of Tottenham’s February wins – but he is happy for absent Antonio Conte to get the credit.

Conte is set to be on the shortlist for the Premier League Manager of the Month award.

Antonio Conte is set for a Manager of the Month nomination… despite being absent

Cristian Stellini was in charge for all of Spurs’ February wins

That is despite Spurs losing the only league game he was present for.

Conte’s gallbladder surgery caused him to miss the 1-0 February 5 win over Manchester City.

He returned to the dugout too early to see a 4-1 Prem pasting at Leicester and the 1-0 Champions League loss at AC Milan before taking more time to recover.

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Spurs then beat West Ham and Chelsea but Conte was in constant contact with Stellini as his side battled back into the top four.
He even made in-game decisions by phone.

Fans have certainly been left baffled, with one saying: “Would be so Spursy if Conte wins a manager of the month award when he’s not even been in the country.”

Another declared: “He could be only manager in history to win with a 100 per cent losing record.”

One noted: “Give the award to Conte and let Stellini manage out of the limelight.”

Another added: “That’s BS, don’t give it to us as that will be embarrassing.”

But Stellini believes Conte has played his part, saying: “Antonio was still with us so, if this happens, I’m happy for him.

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“This could be a great opportunity to be proud of all the staff, not just me.

“We work very closely as a team and are very excited to work together.”

Stellini will be in charge again tonight as Spurs go to Championship high-fliers Sheffield United for their fifth round FA Cup clash.

But Conte, 53, is set to return for Saturday’s Prem trip to Wolves.

Our results have created positive energy in Antonio

Christian Stellini
Asked if Tottenham’s good form has helped Conte’s recovery, Stellini said: “We didn’t speak about it but my feeling is our results have created positive energy in Antonio.

“When you have positive energy, you recover better. And for sure, he will come back with a good energy and positive vibes.”

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Spurs could mix up their side at Bramall Lane after making no changes for the wins over West Ham and Chelsea.

One man who is likely to keep his place is Harry Kane, despite being rested for the 3-0 fourth-round win at Preston.

But Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom has worked out how to stop the England hero scoring.

He said: “The only way you guarantee it, is not to let him within 40 yards of your goal.

“He scores all types of goals, they are a real threat from set-plays.

“We know that he needs very few chances and one thing we can try to do is limit those.”