- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 9, 2017

LONDON (AP) - Every time Premier League leader Chelsea plays, entertainment is guaranteed on the field, but on the sideline its manager Antonio Conte puts on a show of his own.

Conte lived every minute Chelsea’s 3-0 demolition of Middlesbrough on Monday as his side moved within one victory of the Premier League title.

The former Italy national team coach rarely sits during a game, especially at Stamford Bridge. When he’s not orchestrating his side’s defensive press or directing its attacks, he is imploring Chelsea’s supporters to encourage their team.

“It’s great to be in this atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and it’s great to hear your fans with this enthusiasm,” Conte said after Monday’s win.

“It’s great for me, it’s great for my players and it’s great for the club to see this atmosphere.”

Conte has reinvigorated Chelsea following his arrival after last season’s tenth-placed finish.

A switch to Conte’s favoured 3-4-3/5-2-3 formation after a defeat to Arsenal in September, which left Chelsea eighth in the table, proved pivotal.

The Blues haven’t looked back since and will face West Brom on Friday knowing a victory will secure the title.

Striker Diego Costa is a constant recipient of direction from his manager during a game and while at times he appears bemused, the merits of Conte’s advice cannot be ignored.

Moments before Costa gave Chelsea the lead against Middlesbrough, Conte had directed his Spanish forward further up the field.

Conte reacts to his side’s goals as though he has scored himself - bear-hugging his coaching staff before directing fist pumps at the Chelsea fans behind his dugout.

Such is the intensity of his behaviour during a game, it would be unsurprising if his actions were to have offended rival managers throughout the season, but barring Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, whose complaints must be taken with a pinch of salt, Conte has commanded the respect of his peers.

On the rare occasions Chelsea has suffered defeat this season, Conte has been equally gracious as in victory and his humility was on show once more on Monday.

With the result having all but ensured Middlesbrough’s relegation from the Premier League, Conte stood applauding its travelling supporters before embracing its players and staff.

“I think it’s great to see a team that got relegated and to see their fans clap the players. I think it’s important to have a great respect and to clap this type of situation because I think this happens only in England,” Conte explained.

“For this reason I felt in my heart to clap these fans and wish every Middlesbrough player good luck for next season.”


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide