Antonio Conte may be new to the Premier League but he's no spring chicken when it comes to football, football media, and football hysteria. Certainly, coming from the cauldron of the Italian media, he's no doubt wise to their English equivalents' ploys and tactics and narratives. Unlike Mourinho, Conte's primary weapon seems to be a humble charm offensive, showing a public persona far removed from what we witness on the sidelines and what, no doubt, goes on in training behind the scenes.
Maybe they'll be more apt to listen to him this way, seeing as how Mourinho's war against the media over CostaCrimes and various other campaigns was deftly turned against him. Maybe the pen indeed is mightier than the sword!
"I don't understand that other players or managers or press all say bad (things) about him."
"Diego must be focused on the match. Because for me, the most important thing is the match - it's important to pay attention, because he is an important player and he can score a lot of goals and I want him to put himself in the game and not to think of other situations."
"Because it's not good for him, for me, for Chelsea or the fans. I think for the English league, this is no good."
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
These post-Watford comments followed comments from earlier in the week, since Costa so far is not only two-for-two in goals scored but two-for-two in "he shouldn't have been on the pitch to score the goal" storylines as well.
"We all know Diego. He's a passionate footballer and sometimes it can seem that he's always on the edge when he plays. But he's a good guy, a good player and he puts his passion into football when he plays."
"I'm happy with his attitude and his behaviour. I hope he continues but we know he must pay attention. Sometimes when many people or players talk about one player, it's very difficult for the player to play in a relaxed way. You always stay at the centre of attention."
"He must play his football, he must pay attention in that situation. But we are happy for his attitude."
-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN
Conte's efforts at fighting this metaphysical beast* may be just as fruitless as Mourinho's. On the plus side, its appearance must mean that Chelsea are back and in the conversation (i.e. people care beyond just seeing how far we can fall).
*for more on this beast, with specific examples like Coquelin and Byram, check out Joe Tweedie's article over at whatever a uMAXit is.