Antonio Conte is a strong believer in the significance of fitness and food in football and he has explained his approach to both.
Since his arrival our first team head coach has stressed what a difference diet and conditioning can make to a player, and the double sessions he put on in pre-season have ensured we remain competitive until the very end of every game.
Specific guidance to each player regarding what they consume has also helped.
‘In my career, near the end, I started to eat very well and I felt the benefit of this,’ Conte said.
‘So when I started a new career as a coach I wanted to bring this idea to my players. It’s a good solution. You don’t ban anything, you tell them the right balance. It can prevent injury, you recover very quickly, and you are more fresh mentally.
‘In pre-season we explained the right balance about what you eat, with carbohydrates and protein and fat, but not to ban something, just explain the right balance.
‘I pay great attention to my food, I prefer always healthy food. I prefer to avoid carbohydrates, I prefer to eat protein with vegetables and fruits. When I am with my family, spaghetti is very good! I like pasta, but I try to avoid it because it has a lot of carbohydrates!’
Conte admitted he is not as fit as when he was a player but he still does plenty of exercise.
‘Sometimes when I have time to run I do, I run for 30 or 40 minutes. In the training ground we have four pitches and I run around the pitches. Sometimes I try to involve my staff too!’
Two players who Conte will hope to welcome back soon after injury are Cesc Fabregas and Kurt Zouma. The former is recovering well from a muscular problem while Zouma isn’t too far away from returning from the serious knee injury he sustained in February.
‘Fabregas stayed with us in a part of the training session on Friday, when we tried offensive movements, and I think he will be ready next week,’ Conte revealed.
‘Zouma played a game with the Under-23s and the physical answer was good. Now we prefer him to play another game on Monday and if it’s all okay he will come back to us.
‘I am very happy because I can have another central defender and a good central defender, a young one with great potential.’