Antonio Conte believes his “intensive” management style will cut his career short, as the Inter coach is everything from psychologist to sex therapist for his players. “Defeat is like mourning.”
The former Juventus, Chelsea and Italy tactician gave a lengthy interview to French newspaper L’Equipe on his career and extremely detailed approach to management.
“Defeat represents pain to me. For a day, a day and a half after a defeat, it’s like being in mourning. Defeat must leave a trace in me, my players and the club that I work for. I put so much energy into finding solutions because victory can bring a certain degree of relaxation.
“I read many books on psychology, dealing with groups and motivation, because tactics and technique are not enough, a coach has to be a leader of 50 different men, all with different minds. I’ve been asked several times to write books on management, but I don’t have time right now. I will eventually.”
Conte had some good teachers along the way during his playing career, including Giovanni Trapattoni, Marcello Lippi and Carlo Ancelotti.
“I would also add Arrigo Sacchi with Italy, Dino Zoff, Eugenio Fascetti and even Carlo Mazzone when I made my debut with Lecce. They taught me about discipline, using the carrot and the stick.
“Trap is like a second father to me, as I arrived at Juve aged 21 and wouldn’t have lasted long there without him. He reassured me after I made a mistake in a friendly against Monaco.
“Just as with my playing career, my time at Juventus as a coach went beyond expectations. I worked hard to improve year on year and felt different to when I was a player, I had the feeling I could achieve something important. I knew my qualities and how to apply my ideas.
“There are university professors who are great at understanding theory, but cannot transmit their passion. What I do is pass on my passion for this sport.”
Conte complained that young players and spoilt and expect their parents to solve their problems rather than finding a path forward for themselves.
“Competition is a battle. It’s kill or be killed. There can only be one winner at the end of the day and I must do everything to ensure that is my team left standing.
“I play to win and that can irritate a lot of people, put pressure on those who aren’t used to it, but that is what I’m like and I know it’ll make me end my career early, because I live it with such intensity. I’ll be able to smile when I have less responsibility and fewer people to carry on my shoulders.”
The coach takes his ‘360 degrees’ approach to man-management a little further than most would.
“I was a player, so I know that before a match, you cannot have sex for too long. You need to make as little physical effort as possible, so it’s better for your partner to be on top. It is also preferable to be with a long-term partner, so you don’t feel obliged to put in an exceptional performance in bed.
“The fact I was a player allows me to enter into the minds of my squad and know what they are thinking. I know when a player needs to be reassured or prodded or brought back down to earth.”
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