Football

Chelsea boss Conte sorry for touchline rant

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has apologised after he was sent to the stands for a furious touchline rant during his side's 1-0 win over Swansea yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Conte was incensed with Swansea's time-wasting throughout the first half at Stamford Bridge and his frustration boiled over when referee Neil Swarbrick failed to award Chelsea a clear corner.

The Italian's constant complaining reached a peak with that incident and fourth official Lee Mason responded by telling Swarbrick, who immediately sent Conte to the stands.

Conte initially retreated to the seats behind the Chelsea bench, but he had to watch the second half on television in the home changing room before seeking out Swarbrick and Mason to say sorry.

"It's right to apologise for what happened during the game. I apologised to both of them," he said.

"In the first half, I saw Swansea was wasting time. I said this a few times to the fourth official.

"I didn't see anything change. I was frustrated with this situation.

"I tried to tell him again. Then the referee took this decision. For sure I made a mistake. I was frustrated.

"I was a bit animated. For this reason, the fourth official lost his patience.

"The fault is mine, not the fourth official's."

Conte could be fined for his first dismissal since his move to Chelsea 18 months ago.

However, he insisted he didn't swear and unless Swarbrick disagrees in his report to the Football Association, Conte is unlikely to be hit with a touchline ban.

It is five years since Conte last saw red, but his angst was eased by Antonio Ruediger's headed winner in the second half.

But even then he couldn't be completely satisfied as leaders Manchester City snatched a late winner themselves against Southampton to remain 11 points clear of third-placed Chelsea.

Asked how he felt about City's superb run, Conte said: "I have great respect for a team that doesn't give up until the end.

"If they are able to win many games at the end it means they trust until the end.

"They are doing something incredible. When you do this sort of situation, you must be a bit lucky.

"For us, it is important to look at ourselves. We are improving since the start of the season and we have good balance." - AFP

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