Conte demands to be shown ‘respect’ after Jose clash

Matt Stead

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has demanded he is shown the same respect he shows others after Jose Mourinho’s apparent disapproval at his touchline antics.

The Italian is a man who kicks every ball and bellows to his players from his technical area.

Mourinho appeared to express his annoyance at when speaking at length to his successor after Chelsea’s emphatic win over Manchester United on Sunday.

Italian media reported Mourinho had been annoyed that Conte had encouraged the home support to cheer on the Blues when they were already 4-0 up, saying “it’s humiliating”.

Conte insisted he had moved on as Sunday’s win is now in the past.

But, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup fourth-round clash at West Ham, he made a pointed remark, which may have left Mourinho with his ears burning.

“I live the game with great emotion, with great passion,” Conte said.

“I think that everyone must show respect for me, for my work, for my job.

“In every game I show myself. Not here, only one game. I have a history and you can see my history, my past and my behaviours on the bench.

“I always show respect for the opponent, for the other teams, for the other club and my history speaks for me.”

There are concerns over trouble surrounding Chelsea’s clash at the London Stadium.

Conte, still hoarse following Sunday’s win over United, was asked whether his behaviour could antagonise opposition fans.

The former Juventus boss preferred to focus on the positive atmosphere and urged Chelsea’s supporters to focus on backing the team through good and bad as a 12th man.

“One reason you want to work in England is for the atmosphere that you breathe during the game,” he said.

“It’s very special passion in this country. I want to see this. Push the players to win.”

Given he likes to play the game, too, maybe he is the 13th.

Conte said: “Sometimes I’d like to be a manager or coach and to stay seated and to see the game relaxed.

“(But) it’s very difficult for me. I want to play. I want to help my players to stay close to them in every moment. If we win, we lose, we are always together.

“Sometimes they listen. In the other situation, probably they don’t listen, but I shout more to change.

“I finish the game exhausted.”

Conte finds sleep difficult after a win and even more challenging following a defeat.

He will have space to operate at the London Stadium, with its vast technical areas comparing favourably to Stamford Bridge’s small space.

Conte, who joked he might wear a GPS unit used to monitor his players’ activity during a game, added: “If I have to compare the technical area to Stamford Bridge, I’m happy.”

Since switching to a back three against Hull, Chelsea have scored nine goals without reply.

Captain John Terry was an unused substitute in the wins over Leicester and United – Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill started – but could start for the first time in six weeks following an ankle injury as Conte prepares to rotate his options.

Conte insists Terry has a part to play in a back-three system, despite admitting the two wide defenders must be quick. The 35-year-old former England captain has acknowledged he has never been fast.

“The two central defenders, on the right and left, must be very fast, also to be aggressive,” Conte said.

“The players that play in the middle of the three defenders must be more tactical, to reflect more, to find the right position, to call the line up and down.

“If you have in the season an injury, it’s important to have ready a good solution.

“Tomorrow we find a different solution. I want to see the players, to give me the good answer.”

Conte’s priority is to pick a team strong enough to win.

He added: “If I decide to put in the team, in the starting XI some young players, it’s only because I trust in these players, not to gift (an appearance).”