Conte says Chelsea must be focused to end Spur’s unbeaten start
Chelsea have not lost a league game to Spurs at Stamford Bridge in 26 years
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: “I want my players to play with great intensity, with the right passion, but in the right way.” Photograph: Reuters/Matthew Childs
Antonio Conte has reminded his Chelsea players that their behaviour and attitude must be “perfect” if they are to end Tottenham Hotspur’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season in Saturday’s derby at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian was watching from afar as May’s collision between the sides degenerated into a frenzy of ill-discipline. Both clubs were charged with a failure to control their players, with Chelsea fined £290,000 and Tottenham £175,000, both on appeal, after previous similar breaches of FA rules were taken into consideration.
Chelsea have not lost a league game to Spurs at Stamford Bridge in 26 years and Conte is well aware of the spite this fixture tends to whip up, on and off the pitch. However, but will urge his players to retain their focus as they seek a seventh successive league win to maintain their position at the top of the table.
“This type of game is not normal and it is a special derby,” said the Italian, who has lost John Terry to a buttock injury for two to three weeks. “In London there are a lot of teams but this game is special for our club.
“The supporters feel this, and there is a fantastic intensity during the game. Our behaviour, our attitude, must always be perfect, and to think only about the game because this match will be very tough.
“But during the game every single player must be focused on their job. And then to put the passion into it. The right passion. I want my players to play with great intensity, with the right passion, but in the right way.”
The Argentinian was one of three Premier League managers with whom Conte spent time two seasons ago to share ideas and watch training as he planned for life beyond his stewardship of the Italy team.
“He’s fantastic, Mauricio, and I consider him one of the best managers,” said Conte, who visited Tottenham’s training complex in Enfield. “I have great respect for him. I wanted to come in England and compare my ideas and watch the training sessions. My visit was at West Ham, three days, and Tottenham and Chelsea, and I watched the training sessions and spoke with Sam Allardyce, with José Mourinho and with Pochettino. With Mauricio I spoke with him and his staff and we watched a video.
Victor Moses, whose career at Chelsea has been revitalised as a right wing-back in Conte’s 3-4-3 formation, has attracted tentative interest from Barcelona, who have scouted the player heavily over recently weeks. The Nigeria international signed a four-year deal at Stamford Bridge at the start of last season before joining West Ham on a season-long loan, having spent the previous two campaigns with Liverpool and Stoke.
“About Victor, I repeat, it’s important to be focused on the present,” said Conte. “I like to think my players are focused on the present, and not so long term. For everything, there is the right time to speak.” Guardian service