Antonio Conte is full throttle on the sidelines but with Chelsea just one win away from securing the Premier League title, the Italian manager has revealed he feels like he can relax a little.
Well, sort of.
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Conte, 47, is two wins away from delivering the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season in England and following the 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Monday the former Juventus coach hugged Chelsea’s fans, shook hands and took selfies before he stepped off the pitch.
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Can he now relax?
“For sure now I am a bit relaxed,” Conte said. “This step was big. It was a big win at this stage of the season. It’s great. Now we need to do another step. We have the possibility to do this on Friday against West Brom, but for sure it won’t be easy because West Brom are a really good, physical team so we must pay attention. But for sure today we did a big step. I must be honest, and I must be pleased for the performance, the commitment, the desire and the will of my players on the pitch. It’s great to score three goals, to create many chances and also to keep another clean sheet. I’m satisfied.”
Like Conte, Chelsea’s fans are very satisfied.
“Antonio! Antonio!” was the chant from the Stamford Bridge faithful throughout the win against Boro on Monday and he turned to the fans during the game and applauded every stand.
Conte is already achieving legendary status at Chelsea. If his side can clinch the three points they need at West Brom on Friday it will be one heck of a party but with Chelsea able to reach 93 points with three wins to end the season, it’s unlikely Conte will let his side relax too much.
He is all business, but he’s classy too. On the verge of winning the title, Conte went over to the Middlesbrough fans and applauded them after the game, while embracing with Boro manager Steve Agnew as his side has been relegated following the defeat.
“In this case, it’s important to celebrate your win. For us to win today means we are very, very close to winning the title, to have a great achievement in the first season for me,” Conte said. “At the same time, it’s great to see a team who got relegated and see the fans clapping the players, and the players staying there receiving the claps and also clapping the fans. It’s important to celebrate the win, but also have great respect and to clap this type of situation. I think this situation can only happen in England. I don’t remember this in Italy, it’s very difficult to see.”
My goodness it is difficult not to like Antonio Conte…