The Blues boss got a telling off after the club’s worst defeat of the season and speak about developing Eden Hazard into an even better player
Antonio Conte has revealed his family worry about him when he tries to contain his excitement on the touchline during Chelsea games, even being told off by his father after one particularly passionless display.
Chelsea suffered one of their worst defeats during Conte’s reign at the start of the month as they went down 4-1 to Watford, leaving the coach on the brink of losing his job.
And Conte has admitted that he faced criticism from more than just fans and the press after that game, as his family grew concerned over his timidity on the side of the field.
Three good performances have subsequently stabilised things at Stamford Bridge as Conte’s side now sit fourth in the Premier League, and the coach vows he will be as vocal and wild as usual as they gear up for an intense end to the season, if only to make his father happy.
“My family start to worry if they don’t see me [being passionate],” Conte told reporters at Cobham Training Ground. “They start to worry because it means I’m not happy. They don’t recognise me. A lot of time I start the game with this idea to try to enjoy the game, to stay sat down.
“To enjoy the game in this way is not the same for me. It is not the same for my players, it is not the same for the fans, or for my father. My father watched the game against Watford. He said ‘oi, I didn’t see you with the right hunger, the right passion. You finished the game with your voice. That’s not for you.’
“Maybe in the future when I become older, for sure, I have to try to stay more calm. To live the game more relaxed but I think also that this is my thing. To stay on the touchline and push my players, to push myself. This is the result because I won something in my life.
“You have to know that my first owner when I started to play football was my father. He was the owner, the coach, the kitman, he drew the lines [on the pitch]. I spent my life from the start, my life on the pitch. To follow the team of my father, for this reason.
“I think we have to thank him for this passion that I have for this sport. I started very young. In my first season I was assistant coach. I remember in some games, I shouted more than the head coach, a lot of the time, at the end of the game I said sorry because [I shouted so much]. But this is my way to live the game. In the future, I hope to be more relaxed and enjoy and to sit and watch the game.
“I think you must have passion in every game. If you play against Barcelona or you play with a low team. It doesn’t matter, honestly I don’t think my passion against Watford was less. For sure, it was a strange night for everyone.
“I don’t think that my passion was less, my passion must always be the same way when we play against an important team or a team that’s less important. In that moment I am alone. I don’t see what happens on the other bench, I don’t see what the other manager does.
“In that moment I am alone. There’s the pitch, my players, the game. I don’t see what happens because my focus is only on the pitch. It is great this for me. After the game, if we win, I think there is great peace in myself. This is the moment that I find the peace completely, in my mind and body.
“I am tired but when we win it is the best moment for me. I enjoy that moment. I know that probably the time is two hours or three hours to enjoy this moment, especially if we play every three days, but then start to think and I prepare for another team.
“When we lose, I prefer to stay inside. I think after the game it is not good to speak, especially if you are angry, it is dangerous. It is very important to be calm and not be sad. Take one day, two days to recover and then restart.”
Meanwhile, Eden Hazard has gone on to make 40 appearances already this season for club and country, despite missing the start of the season due to a broken ankle.
He has played in three different positions this season for Chelsea and is the club’s top scorer with 15 goals.
However, Conte still believes that his star man has another level to get to despite being impressed with his recent displays, pointing out Sunday’s game against Manchester United as a good chance to show his quality.
“I think this type of game is the perfect game for top players because they want to show something,” he added. “Especially in these games. Eden is performing well. He is scoring, he can score more, he can improve things.
“He has the possibility to improve his level, to work very hard with and without the ball, to help his team-mates. At this level you need all players to play with the ball and without the ball, to help the team with and without the ball.
“I think at this point, it’s imprortant for the coach to try to speak to improve on the pitch and during the training sessions. To have conversations about how to reach another level but it is very important, you must be yourself to have this ambition, this will to do this.”