Howe praises ‘passionate’ Conte ahead of Chelsea clash

Liam Headd

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe finds it hard to believe that Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League with Chelsea in his debut season has been criticised.

Conte was rumoured to be battling dressing-room unrest and close scrutiny from Chelsea’s board owing to three defeats in nine games to start their title defence.

Howe remains nonplussed by football’s sack culture, and insisted every Premier League boss’ job must be on the line if Conte faces an uncertain future.

“Well if that’s the case we’ve all got problems,” said Howe of rumours Conte faced a precarious position, ahead of Bournemouth hosting Chelsea at Dean Court on Saturday.

“I don’t know where we go from there. That just defies belief really that someone who has done such a fine job at Chelsea can even be talked of in that way.

“But that’s the modern way it seems, that’s the way the game’s gone. I don’t like to see managers sacked. It makes the profession very delicately poised, at all times.

“When you’re on a losing run there are always questions about your future. I don’t think it’s good for the profession.”

Howe hailed Chelsea boss Conte for spearheading a return to wing-back formations and three centre-backs, praising the Italian for his passion and technical nous.

“I find him a really enthralling character, someone who is very passionate, he’s as passionate away from the touchline,” said Howe of Chelsea counterpart Conte.

“It’s fascinating to talk football with him for a period of time.

“I think he’s brought a great deal to the Premier League, he’s played a massive part of that three-at-the-back revolution.

“He’s brought a lot of passion and drive to the touchline. He’s intriguing to watch tactically, and with how he motivates his team.”