Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has claimed he would rather “kill” a disrespectful player than lose the respect of an entire dressing room.
“From my experience as a footballer, I think this is the right way to manage a changing room,” Conte told Arsenal legend and former Juventus teammate Thierry Henry during a Sky Sports interview.
“I think that when I start a season, I speak with my players and I always talk about education and respect. I demand this, but I give this. And if someone does not have a good attitude during the training session, or good behaviour in a different circumstances, I prefer to kill him than have 22 players.
“Because I repeat, from my experience as a footballer, if a manager closes his eyes, he does not want to see the bad situation and he loses the changing room.”
Conte has made a bright start to life at Stamford Bridge, taking 10 points from his first four Premier League matches and endearing himself to many Chelsea supporters with his displays of unbridled passion on the touchline.
The atmosphere created by the Italian is in stark contrast to the “palpable discord” between players and management that unravelled Chelsea’s Premier League title defence last season and led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December.
Conte faces the biggest test of his Chelsea reign so far against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who have already beaten Arsenal and Premier League champions Leicester City this season, and the Italian is expecting a difficult evening at Stamford Bridge.
“Yes, I think it will be a very tough game because at this moment Liverpool are in a very good shape and we must pay great attention,” he added. “I consider Liverpool the worst team to play now and I repeat, we must pay great attention and prepare the game in the right way, but it will be a good game.”
Conte has previously revealed that he struggles to sleep after watching his teams lose, and the Italian has jokingly suggested that he could go to drastic lengths to ensure he can work around the clock at Chelsea’s Cobham training complex.
“I hate to lose, but for one or two days I suffer a lot after a defeat,” he admitted. “And when I stay a long time [in London], it is very difficult for me because I stay at Stamford Bridge for eight or nine hours, I prefer to work here [Cobham].
“In the future I want to ask for a bed here, because there could be a situation that happens where there is the possibility I want to stay here!”