Antonio Conte must tread carefully when speaking of Chelsea chief Roman Abramovich.
The power struggles that take place in the Stamford Bridge corridors are no secret. Even winning a Champions League or Premier League title aren’t enough to avoid Abramovich’s notorious wrath, as Roberto Di Matteo and Jose Mourinho have proven respectively.
Conte is a long way off any such achievements. His start to life in West London has been erratic, and the Blues have taken just one point from three games.
Carlo Ancelotti has previously spoken of the ‘red flags’, the indications that Abramovich was unhappy, even when Chelsea were doing well. It seems impossible to believe that Conte is unaware of any such signs, but he’s certainly in no mood to talk about them.
The Italian has done his best to play down rumours of a bitter battle with the Russian billionaire, but it’s fair to say he wouldn’t be keen to discuss it whether it was true or not.
Conte is still working on his English, which means what he told reporters in his pre-match press conference before a trip to Hull this weekend may be open to interpretation – but here it is:
“I think good communication is important always, with all the people to be very clear on all aspects,” he said.
“It is important this, to be very clear with our players, your staff and the owner.
“Mr Abramovich has a great passion for football. To talk with him about football is very interesting, to explain about my idea of football.
“To have a confrontation is very interesting, this situation – I like this. In every situation, if you are very clear it is okay always.”