Antonio Conte hinted his Chelsea stars may regret criticism of his tactics by saying he was ‘killed’ for slamming his Juventus coach during his playing days.
Conte has faced severe criticism from fans and pundits over the last week for the way he set up his side against Manchester City in their 1-0 defeat.
Following that loss, Eden Hazard raised eyebrows by saying he could have played for ‘three hours’ and not touched the ball.
Antonio Conte knows first hand that it can be unwise to slate your manager’s tactics in public
Chelsea star Eden Hazard (left) looked happy in training at the club’s Cobham HQ on Friday
Conte refused to confirm whether he had spoken to the Belgian but did say he once regretted comments he made under his Juve boss Marcello Lippi.
‘I did this when I was a player,’ Conte said. ‘We played a game, a massive game against Parma when they were first and we were second. We won 3-1. After the game, there was an international break. During the break I did an interview.
‘The journalists asked me if I was happy with the team and this important win. My stupid answer was, “We are winning, but I’m not happy because I’m not enjoying the role the coach decided to give me”.
‘When I came back to Turin, it was a meeting with Lippi and all the players, and he killed me.
‘He killed me in a bad way, not in a soft or kind way. In front of the players.
‘He told me it was a lack of respect for my team-mates, first of all, and then for him, the club and the fans. He killed me.
‘After training, the club called me. They killed me another time, gave me a big, big fine. And then, in the next game, I didn’t play. I was on the bench against Piacenza.’
Hazard was less pleased after Chelsea’s loss to Man City when he blasted the way they set up
‘I did this when I was a player,’ said Conte before explaining that it did not work out well for him
Conte would say little about Hazard’s comments other than he preferred to speak with his players in person.
‘This is not my habit,’ he said. ‘I like to talk with the players face to face, or in meetings.
‘The tactics were the same against Barcelona. Defensively, we were very good in both games. We conceded only two shots to Manchester City.
‘This is very strange. Usually when you play against Manchester City they shoot about 20 or 25 times every game.
‘The tactics were the same against Barcelona and against them I didn’t listen to anyone complaining. My decisions are always for the best of the team. This is my reply.’
Conte said Marcello Lippi (centre), his ex-boss at Juventus, once ‘killed’ him after a public rant