London, Jan 4 (IANS) Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte is looking forward to his return to Chelsea, the club he coached to the Premier League and FA Cup titles when the two teams meet in the semi-finals of the League Cup (Carabao Cup) on Wednesday.
Most of the pre-match focus on Tuesday was on Conte’s first match back at Stamford Bridge, having led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season (2016/17) and the FA Cup in 2018, before departing that summer.
“This will be the first time (back) after my experience at Chelsea,” he said. “For sure, for me, I will have good emotions. I spent two years there, I enjoyed my two years at Chelsea, we did a really good job, and I had a lot of good friendships there,” said Conte.
“When you work well and you give everything for a club, you leave something positive with the fans. I’m a coach and manager who, when I get a job in a club, I’m the first to go into the club with a sense of belonging. It’s very important to transfer this to the players. I’m ready to give 100 percent and more for the club where I work and I think when the fans understand your attitude, they are happy,” Conte told Spurs TV ahead of the encounter.
Conte said he is not expecting the two teams to engage in the ‘long game’ when they take to meet in the first leg of the League Cup (Carabao Cup) semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Conte returns to his former club expecting a typical all-action London derby encounter, and expects the teams to look for victory and not think of leaving things for the second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next Wednesday.
The second semi-final is between Arsenal and Liverpool.
Asked how Spurs might approach the first leg, and if it might be a case of ‘keeping it tight’ in the away leg for the second leg at home, Conte told Spurs TV: “In England, it’s very difficult to try to think, ‘okay, in the first leg, we want to play this way and reach this result’ because, in England, you have to play every game in the same way, and try to get a good result.
“We know very well that Chelsea are an amazing team, they won the Champions League last season, and they improved the squad compared to last season. It will be very difficult for us, but, at the same time, in this type of game, you can prove to yourselves the level you are at in this moment. It will be important for us to have a good game and to get a good result in the first leg.”