Football

Antonio Conte.

How Antonio Conte has been spying on the diets of Chelsea's players

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Antonio Conte has made it very clear ahead of tonight's game against West Brom that he expects to be paid like a champion if Chelsea win the Premier League.

The Italian, who earns three times less than Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, has two years remaining on his current deal and believes that money represents "real value".

"Money is not important, but money is important to understand the real value of a person," Conte said in a press conference on Friday.

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Conte currently earns £6.5 million-per-year at Stamford Bridge but, given what Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger are on, he has every right to demand more.

Not many managers win the Premier League in their first season but Conte is on the brink of achieving just that, not to mention the FA Cup.

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It's hard to put into words exactly how the 47-year-old has revolutionised Chelsea so dramatically over the past nine months, but his tactical astuteness has certainly played an important role.

Chelsea's 3-4-3 formation, for example, was Conte's way of shaking things up after the 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal - and it worked to perfection.

Conte's impressive man management skills have paid dividends, too, in terms of the relationships he's formed with his players and keeping them disciplined.

And he's also a stickler for good nutrition. As reported by The Sun last August, Conte implemented a strict diet on his players that meant they couldn't consume pizza, ketchup, brown sauce or fizzy drinks.

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League

A fresh claim has emerged detailing how Conte actually spies on his players when they eat out to make sure they're sticking to his regime - no, seriously.

This is according to restaurant owner Aaron Rutigliano, who runs Gola - an Italian in the Chelsea area - and told the Evening Standard how Conte frequently asks him to send pictures of what his players are eating when they visit.

"He (Conte) comes back so often. He is a nice, simple relaxed guy," Rutigliano said. "He comes in by himself to eat dinner or sometimes just to watch football.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-MIDDLESBROUGH

"He's incredible with the customers, very polite. He has hundreds of people asking him for a picture and he never says no. Never, ever. Jose Mourinho wouldn't do that.

"Many times I have to send him a picture of the players and what they are eating. He is very hands-on but the players all love him."

How brilliant is that? Antonio Conte: full-time Chelsea manager, part-time spy.

The Italian's unique methods clearly work, with Chelsea two games away from winning the Premier League and FA Cup double.

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