Football

Conte doesn’t doubt Blues’ professionalism

Antonio Conte will trust the professionalism of his Chelsea players if they decide to organise a Christmas party.

The Blues head into the festive period three points clear at the top of the Premier League having won their past nine league outings, before their game against Sunderland this morning (Singapore time).

The trip to the Stadium of Light is Chelsea's first in a run of five fixtures in 21 days as head coach Conte goes into the Christmas period without a break for the first time in his career.

It has become standard practice for most clubs to allow their players to let their hair down for a Christmas get-together.

While Conte is not going to stand in the way of his squad, the Italian believes he can put faith in their eagerness for success to override an infamous night out.

"I'm sure I have great professionals in my players," he said.

"In this case, I don't think a coach or a manager can say, 'Do this' or 'Don't do this'. But I know they will have the right attitude in this situation.

"I must be honest, I'd prefer they stayed at home and celebrated with the family.

"Not have a great party. On the 26th, we play the game.

"We are preparing to celebrate with our families during the week before Christmas, to stay together with our children, with our families."

Conte may want his players to err on the side of caution with Christmas parties, but he will not stop them enjoying a solitary beer after a game.

Diego Costa was filmed by teammate David Luiz having a drink after his match-winning performance in the 1-0 victory at West Brom last Sunday and Conte has no problem with that.

"After the game, for rehydration, you can drink Coca Cola, one beer," he said.

"It's good for recovery. But one. Not a lot. It's good.

"After you finish the game, quickly, not an hour after the end. A glass of red wine, one, is good." - PA SPORT

eplCHELSEA (EPL)