By Goal/Evelyne Wareh
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic backed Antonio Conte’s “aggressive” coaching demeanour after Jose Mourinho clashed with the Chelsea boss at the end of Sunday’s hammering of Manchester United.
Chelsea made light work of Mourinho’s side upon the Portuguese coach’s return to Stamford Bridge, with the hosts running out comprehensive 4-0 winners.
Conte attracted attention for playing up to the home support after Chelsea’s fourth goal and Mourinho, reportedly unhappy about the former Juventus coach’s behaviour, appeared to have strong words with the Italian after the full-time whistle.
But Bilic, whose West Ham side face Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, believes Conte’s passionate coaching style should be embraced.
“I know what Jose thought of that, but I don’t think that’s the reason Conte did it, to humiliate United,” Bilic told reporters at a press conference.
“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.”
West Ham’s last-gasp win over Sunderland saw them move to seven points from their last three Premier League matches, as they start to put their difficult start to the campaign behind them.
And Bilic is looking for his side to take that momentum into Wednesday’s home clash with Chelsea, as he insisted West Ham will have their strongest possible team starting.
“We have seven points from three games in the league, so the confidence is back now. We have to continue in this way,” he added.
“I said after the Sunderland game that we would have our strongest possible team. We will see at training today [Tuesday] before we decide.
“It’s a one-off London derby cup game. Five or 10 years ago clubs weren’t so keen on this cup, but now it’s important.
“It is a very interesting competition for us. If we go through, it’s already the quarter-finals. Big teams are playing each other.
“It’s not Wednesday-Saturday, we play Everton on Sunday. So we are going to play a very strong team and try and get through.”