The big-hearted manager phoned the owner of one of his favourite restaurants and persuaded him to stay open until they arrived back from beating West Brom
ANTONIO CONTE took his Chelsea coaching staff out for a slap-up Italian meal until 7am in London – just hours after sealing the Premier League title.
The amazing picture shows Conte and his staff at Gola restaurant in Fulham, having only arrived there at 2am after getting back from West Brom last Friday night.
Gola’s owner Aaron Rutigliano confirmed to Sun Sport that while he usually closes the west London eatery at 11pm, he kept it open especially for the arrival of his friend Conte to let his hair down.
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A Chelsea coach phoned the restaurant on the way back to London after the Baggies win to ask if they would keep it open for the group of 13 – with Conte a regular at the establishment popular with footballers and even ex-Blues’ boss Jose Mourinho.
They then arrived 2am after the two-and-half drive back from the Midlands and partied for FIVE hours before leaving at 7am.
Chelsea won the title at the Hawthorns thanks to Michy Batshuayi’s late goal which saw him win his first top flight trophy in his debut season in England.
The game finished around 9.30pm, and the Italian boss was then drenched in champagne while wearing a suit by his joyous players.
Once they left the ground, the team coach would have driven the 130 mile trip back to the capital.
Conte, sat in the middle of his staff, looks pleased as punch holding up a glass of red wine to the camera at the head of the table.
The likes of club ambassador and former Blues keeper Carlo Cudicini, assistant managers Angelo Alessio and Steve Holland and fitness coach Chris Jones all had a selection of beers and wines along with plates of antipasti.
And Rutigliano added that “kind” Conte is a fan of simple foods such as Italian favourite Bruschetta – and that on the evening he ordered a steak dish.
And while there may have been some sore heads come Saturday, they dusted themselves down in time to beat Watford 4-3 in a thriller at Stamford Bridge just two days later on Monday.
With predecessor Jose Mourinho’s second tenure at the club marred by in-fighting and controversy in a terrible season last year, Conte has turned the atmosphere totally around with his management style.
SunSport told last year how he threw a barbecue at the club’s Cobham training ground for wives and families – and even laid on a bouncy castle and a kids’ football match in a bid to win over his players.
There are stories of the 47-year-old taking time out to personally speak to all the staff at the club – and even took journalists out for a Christmas drink.
And it has appeared to work both on and off the pitch as the big-hearted boss has got the most out of his players while endearing himself to his employees and the footballing world.