LONDON – Antonio Conte's two year reign as Chelsea manager came to an end on Friday a year after leading them to the title. AFP Sports picks out five of his quotes which reflect his sharply changing mood swings working for Roman Abramovich.
"Now after this win I think we must be happy and pleased for all the season. It wasn't easy for me to arrive in England and try a different language after a bad season (for the club)."
-- Happier times when victory at West Bromwich Albion secured the 2016/17 title in his first season at the club, although his remark stirred things up with Jose Mourinho who had been sacked the previous campaign months after they were crowned champions.
"In the past he was a little man in many circumstances, he's a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future. I consider him a little man and I consider him a man with a very low profile."
-- Conte and Jose Mourinho had heated exchanges throughout his tenure. This was the Italian's angry riposte to the Manchester United manager raising the topic of matchfixing which enveloped Conte in 2012 but was eventually cleared of, although he originally received a 10 month suspension.
"We are having the season that we are deserving. It is only a problem of time - don't forget in the last two or three years we lost important players for Chelsea. When you lose important players with great experience and charisma and players used to winning, you lose a lot."
-- Conte's frustration, a constant refrain during last season, at leading players not being replaced by similar quality surface again in April.
"I can't change. My way is always the same; hard work and to build a strong mentality with my players. I'm this and I think my past speaks very clear as a player and as a manager. You can say what you want, but I'm a serial winner."
-- Conte's defiant message to the Chelsea board after saving something from last season with the FA Cup win over Mourinho's United.
"I can tell you that everyone who works in Chelsea knows very well what happened with him last season. It's funny, this interview. I'm not interested to continue this issue. For me, he's the past."
-- Conte's dismissive response to an interview Spanish striker Diego Costa - with whom he had fallen out badly - gave to ESPN in August last year asking for Chelsea to lower their wage demands so he could secure a return to Atletico Madrid where he eventually got his way and moved delivering at the same time a significant blow to Conte's image in the boardroom.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)