Chelsea‘s new manager Antonio Conte has no intention of diluting the passion that caused him to leap into the crowd to celebrate Chelsea’s late winning goal in his first Premier League game on Monday.
He is taking the same attitude to volatile striker Diego Costa, scorer of that goal, who some observers felt should have been sent off earlier in the game.
“Football is passion,” Conte told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s visit to Watford. “If you have this every day you can work very well.
“When you put a lot of time into your work it’s good to show passion. At Chelsea they are starting to know this part of me.
“I am a passionate man. I live the game with great passion. I play with my players and I want to feel this from them.
“Sometimes when you score an important goal and you win you can celebrate. I cannot hold my emotion.”
Spanish international Costa, who was twice suspended for three matches last season, had already been given a yellow card when he lunged in on West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, but escaped without further punishment.
“I am happy with his attitude and his behavior,” said Conte, who joined Chelsea after Euro 2016, when his emotional touchline antics were a highlight of the tournament.
“We all know Diego. He is a passionate footballer and sometimes it can seem he’s on the edge but he’s a good guy and a good player.”
Chelsea and Conte are both familiar with Watford’s new manager Walter Mazzarri from his time in Italy with Napoli.
The London club recovered from a 3-1 deficit to knock his team out on their way to winning the Champions League in 2012.
Conte came up against him regularly while in charge of Juventus.
“I have great respect for him and his work,” he said of his compatriot. “He’s a good manager.”
Last season the teams drew both their league meetings, 2-2 at Stamford Bridge and 0-0 at Watford.