Antonio Conte has become known quite quickly for his brand of sideline “antics” (or “histrionics”, as Gary Lineker called it in The Premier League Show interview), and while Chelsea TV didn’t heed our advice to put a dedicated camera on him, we’ve still been treated to several hilariously massive explosions of delight on the touchline and a couple moments of anger as well. Conte’s always been like this of course, but now the Premier League and thus the world are paying attention as well, so it often comes up as a talking point.
In that aforementioned interview with Lineker, Conte already revealed that he “doesn’t like” to watch himself back on replays in these moments of utter joy, passion, and madness. He expanded on this idea in Friday’s press conference as well (after the cameras were turned off, fittingly enough), which has now been turned into headlines of “Conte ashamed by touchline antics” and the like, but of course he doesn’t quite mean it in that strict biblical sense.
“It's not easy for me to see me in this situation because I don't like to see myself again after the game [in replays]. It is not because I have a strange attitude or strange behaviours but because I don't like to see it. Sometimes I'm a bit ashamed to show all this passion.”
-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN
He’s not ashamed to show his passion, he’s just embarrassed to watch it back. Fair enough.
When Conte’s on the touchline, the only thing he’s worried about is the match and his players (and sometimes the crowd). He’s not there to act for the cameras. It’s not a private moment, but he certainly feels lost enough in the moment to behave as if it were. If you’ve ever screamed in delight at your computer screen when one of your virtual players scored on Football Manager, I’m sure you can relate.
“It’s my enthusiasm. I live the game in this way and not only in England. If you remember during the Euros, if you remember in my past with Juventus, when I started my career, I live the game with great passion and enthusiasm. Sometimes for me it’s very hard to keep this passion under control. Sometimes I want to share my passion with fans, with my staff, with players.”
“When I was a player and I scored always I showed my passion with great celebrations. I scored not a lot but when it happened, I showed great passion. I live football with great passion and great enthusiasm — I put a lot of myself in my work.”
Conte might not like to watch himself on the touchline, and it all might be for his own benefit first and foremost, to let him fight, suffer, and celebrate right alongside his players, but he does think there is one person for whom it is important to be watching and learning, his daughter.
“It’s funny. My daughter watches every game and stays five metres behind me in the stands. I want this. For me it’s a great support — my daughter and my wife. I think it’s important for my daughter to see my will to win. I try always to transfer the right education to my daughter.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Mail
We haven’t seen too many bad moments so far in Conte’s time in charge of Chelsea, so the touchline celebrations have become his calling card. We have seen him angry a couple times (like that one time with his assistant, Angelo Alessio), and we have seen him deflated (such as when Costa’s penalty was saved), but the one thing we haven’t seen is Conte sitting on the bench. And that’s good, because apparently that means we’re in trouble and not just in terms of the match itself.
“I think everyone lives the situation in their own way. It is not good to judge badly someone who stays always sitting during the game, it is not good to judge badly if one manager follows the game and stays standing up for the whole match. Everyone has their own style.”
“I have a great passion for football and I think that the moment you see that I stay sitting, my club must be worried, because I have finished my passion.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
The Passion of the Conte, may it burn brightly for many more years to come on the Chelsea touchline.