Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is keen to draw a line under his clash with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and insists his touchline conduct during Sunday’s resounding 4-0 win was not at all out of character.
Mourinho expressed displeasure after Conte’s exuberant reaction to N’Golo Kante scoring Chelsea’s fourth, compounding the Portuguese’s misery on a forgettable return to Stamford Bridge.
The former Juventus and Italy coach refused to reopen the argument at a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup derby against West Ham but defended his behaviour as being consistent with the rest of his career
“I think at this moment it is not important to talk again about a game that for me, for my players and for the club is the past,” he said.
“It is important to be very focused for a close game tomorrow against West Ham.
“I repeat, I am pleased for the performance of my players against United because I think we played the game with a good intensity and showed a lot of positive things
“Now it is important to continue, not with the past, but to be focused on the present.”
Asked whether a typically animated showing in his technical area could incite a West Ham support not always content in their new surroundings at London Stadium this season, Conte said: “I think that everyone must show respect for me, for my work, for my job… I think that in every game I show myself, not just here in one game [against Manchester United].
“I have a history and you can see in my history, my past and my behaviour on the bench. I am a passionate man. I showed this in the past and I want to stay very close to my players.
“I always show respect for the opponent, for the other teams, for the other clubs and my history speaks for me.”
Conte expects to be in good voice by the time this latest London derby comes around, having shouted himself hoarse at the weekend.
“Yesterday it was very difficult for me to shout in the training session because the day after is a bit difficult for me with my voice,” he said. “Today I am better and I think tomorrow it will be very good.”
The-47-year-old added he is looking forward to treading the turf at the comparatively more expansive surroundings of the former Olympic stadium, conceding Stamford Bridge does not give him as much room for manoeuvre as he would like.
“At Stamford Bridge [the technical area] is maybe two metres or one metre large and for me it is very difficult to try and ask my club to change the technical area for me and for the other coach,” he explained.
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