Slaven Bilic has hailed Antonio Conte’s aggression and insists he has no problems with the Chelsea boss’ antics.
Jose Mourinho took exception to Conte trying to whip up the home crowd when Chelsea were 4-0 up against Manchester United on Sunday.
Reports in Italian media claimed the United chief told Conte: “You don’t celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0, otherwise it’s humiliating for us.”
But Bilic, who will be on the touchline alongside Conte when West Ham host Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening, defended the Blues manager’s actions.
“I know what Jose thought of that, but I don’t think that’s the reason Conte did it, to humiliate United,” said Bilic.
“He just wanted the crowd to praise the team because they were winning, and for what they had done in the game.
“From my point of view I don’t think he wanted to humiliate United.
“On the touchline many managers just sit and watch the game, others are like they are playing. You have to be yourself.
“During that game I saw nothing wrong from Conte or nothing he hasn’t done since he started. It was typical Conte, aggressive, but in a good way.”
The build-up to Wednesday’s clash has surrounded the potential for crowd trouble at the first derby match to be held at the London Stadium.
Given the animosity between the two sets of fans, and the disturbances in the stands at West Ham’s previous home matches, a ‘robust’ policing plan has been put in place.
Bilic, understandably, hopes the occasion will be memorable only for what happens on the pitch.
“It’s a cup game, a derby against Chelsea, so yes it’s a big game, a big occasion,” he added.
“The message to the fans is just to get behind us, because we are feeling them in every game and we want them to be our 12th player.
“Hopefully the problems are gone. I’m getting fed up with answering those questions week in, week out.
“All we can do is try to play good football and win games. That also helps the atmosphere. It’s all we can do.”