Chelsea boss Antonio Conte passes on his “suffering” to players
Antonio Conte tries to pass on his “suffering” after a defeat to his Chelsea players in a bid to get a positive response.
Conte declined to discuss Nemanja Matic’s transfer from Chelsea to Old Trafford, or comment on his relationship with Jose Mourinho, ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United.
The Blues boss instead focused on his own team, who are seeking to respond from Tuesday night’s 3-0 Champions League loss at Roma, which saw Conte questioning their “hunger”.
Adversity will reveal the true character of his players, according to the Italian.
“We are struggling a lot, because we are facing a lot of important problems,” he said.
“To solve these problems is not simple. In this moment you can see if you are a winner or a loser.
“It’s important to show our character, to be strong, to face the problem in the right way.
“I try to transfer my suffering to my players. Sometimes I am able to do this, to have a good answer.”
Chelsea twice beat United at Stamford Bridge last season, but Conte will accept responsibility if things go wrong this weekend.
He said: “I’m a coach who doesn’t like to find excuses. Sometimes I prefer to (face) all the mistakes.”
Mourinho cut a frustrated figure at his former stomping ground last season after Chelsea won 4-0 in the Premier League and 1-0 in the FA Cup.
The Portuguese, who won three Premier League titles in two spells with Chelsea, and Conte have exchanged verbal taunts, but the Italian declined to add to the animosity.
Conte said: “It’s not important, the relationship between the coaches. We have to respect the job of the other coaches.
“He’s an opponent and I’m an opponent for him. After the game it will be the same.”
A large proportion of the squad which won the title under Mourinho in 2014/15 remain at Chelsea, but Conte does not believe having their former leader in the visiting dugout affects his players.
He said: “In this time, you see only opponents. It will be the same for Matic in the other side.”
There has been regular speculation over Conte’s own position, due to the Blues’ battle for consistency this term.
Owner Roman Abramovich visited Chelsea’s Cobham training ground last Sunday, following the win over Bournemouth, which Conte insisted was not unusual.
“My relationship (with Abramovich) is the same as last season,” Conte added.
Chelsea have lost three of their first 10 Premier League matches this term, to sit nine points behind leaders Manchester City entering this weekend’s fixtures.
Asked how important Sunday’s game is for the title race, Conte pointed to the form of Pep Guardiola’s side.
“Now there is a big problem for all the teams that want to fight for the title and this big problem is Manchester City,” said Conte, who hopes N’Golo Kante will return from a hamstring problem.
“If they continue in this way it will be very difficult to fight for the title.”