Conte: No bad blood between myself and Mazzarri

Date published: Friday 19th August 2016 2:29

Antonio Conte insists he has ended his long-running feud with Watford boss Walter Mazzarri ahead of their new “experience” in the Premier League.

Conte clashed repeatedly with Mazzarri in Italy’s Serie A, but the new Chelsea manager claimed their relationship is now “normal”.

Former Napoli boss Mazzarri had previously hinted that Conte had borrowed elements of his tactical approach when coaching Juventus.

That prompted a niggly denial from Conte, before Mazzarri battled to smooth things over with an explanation of his original comments. Now though Conte is adamant there will be no issues between the pair in the Premier League.

“I saw (Mazzarri) in the managers’ meeting, and also Claudio Ranieri,” said Conte, ahead of Chelsea taking on Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

“I spoke with him about this new experience, this is a great challenge also for him. I saw him very focused about this experience.

“When we were in Italy and we fought for the title, Juventus against Napoli, yeah, but when you stay up and you are fighting for the title everyone fights for their club.

“But the relationship is very normal, I have great respect for him and his work. I think he’s a good manager.”

Asked if he will shake Mazzarri’s hand ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash, Conte said: “Yeah. I saw him during the meeting. We spoke with him and the assistant coach.”

Juan Cuadrado has consistently been linked with a return to Juventus, where he spent last term on loan.

Conte had fought hard to bring the Colombia forward back to Chelsea on his Stamford Bridge arrival, and insisted Cuadrado remains a Blues player as things stand.

Conte reiterated his position that Chelsea are “waiting for the right solution” ahead of further transfers before the window closes.

When asked why Cuadrado was not in the squad for Monday night’s 2-1 win over West Ham, Conte replied: “For Cuadrado we are waiting, we are waiting on the situation, because the situation must become more clear about his position.

“Now he is Chelsea’s player, today he had training with us.”

Fiery striker Diego Costa was lucky to escape a red card for his crude challenge on West Ham goalkeeper Adrian on Monday night.

The Spain hitman then blasted the winning goal just a minute from time, before Conte defended his gritty forward’s actions.

Now Conte has insisted he does not feel Costa needs to curb his passionate edge.

“We all know Diego, and Diego is a passionate footballer,” said Conte.

“And sometimes that can seem that he’s always on the edge when he plays, but I think that Diego is a good guy, a good player and he puts his passion in the football when he plays.

“I’m happy for his attitude, for his behaviour.

“I hope to continue also, but we know that he must pay attention in all situations.

“Because sometimes when many players talk about one player it’s very difficult for the player to play relaxed.

“Because you know that you always stay the centre of attention. He must pay attention in all situations, but we are happy for his attitude.”

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