Antonio Conte’s wife Elizabetta had better not expect too much love and attention from her husband on Valentine’s Night on Tuesday because – Benfica v Borussia Dortmund is on the television.
The workaholic Chelsea manager, whose side go into tomorrow’s game at Burnley top of the Premier League with the title in their sights, admits he cannot take his eye off football.
Last Sunday, after beating Arsenal 3-1 the day before, the Italian spent the first part of the day – his day off – on his sofa, watching Manchester City play Swansea and then a bit of Leicester playing Manchester United.
Then later that afternoon Antonio Conte hopped on a plane to Turin to see his beloved Juventus play Inter Milan, before flying back to London.
The Chelsea manager said: “Honestly, when I told my wife I’m going to watch Juventus and Inter she wasn’t happy.
“She asked me “Why? Stay with us and your daughter and your wife’.” Sometimes it’s not easy to explain to my wife my choice, when I have a day off, to watch a game.
“On Sunday all day I watched the games on TV, the English games, City and United and then went to the Italian game. The passion for football is great.
“My wife didn’t know football before me. Her parents never watched a game and on Sundays would go for a walk or a bike ride. Now I have involved her family and they are our biggest fans.”
Valentine’s Day was supposed to be different but Conte held his head in his hands when reminded it will be a Champions League night.
He said: “My wife and I will spend it together. I have to organise a good dinner, a tete-a-tete. Maybe it will be in front of the tv now!
“Sometimes I try to transfer my problems. Sometimes it’s good to talk with Elizabetta. It’s important for me to have a good person to listen, and tell me I am wrong.”
But not when Elizabetta tries to talk about football. He said: “Sometimes they try to speak about football but I stop them. I prefer when I speak about it. But if she starts the conversation, I stop her.”
So there might be a bit of tension in the Conte household on Tuesday night.
But nowhere near as much as the Chelsea manager likes in his dressing room.
The Italian revealed he does not like things too relaxed before a game and loves to crank up the tension.
Conte said: “I keep the right tension in my players. After a good win you can be relaxed. I try to avoid this. I sometimes try to increase the tension before a game.
“I find different ways, sometimes good, sometimes bad. My experience as a footballer is very important to feel a changing room. If it is too relaxed I try to find the right solution.”