Antonio Conte has led Chelsea to the top of the Premier League following a stunning run of nine-straight victories, with the Italian now revealing one of the secrets to his success.
While Pep Guardiola has stopped his Manchester City players from drinking fizzy drinks and removed pizza and fruit juice from post-match meals, Conte believes allowing his players to indulge in a beer after matches can play a key role in their recovery from 90 minutes of football.
Striker Diego Costa was filmed drinking a bottle of beer in the dressing room after his late goal beat West Brom on Sunday, while still in his kit, and Conte believes this method of recovery is helpful to the striker and the rest of his squad.
‘After the game, for rehydration, you can drink Coca Cola, one beer. But one, not a lot,’ he said.
‘It’s good after you finish the game, quickly, not an hour after the end.
‘Diego is playing a season in a fantastic way, because he’s showing great passion in the right way.
‘He’s very focused on the game, to play football and make all the right movements, attack the space – and that’s fantastic for him, I think also that he can improve.’
But while the Italian allows his players to enjoy a little post-match alcohol, he isn’t so keen on his players fully indulging in the Christmas party season.
Conte has fallen short of banning his stars from hitting the town together this month, but he has made it clear that he’d prefer them to keep their seasonal celebrations to a minimum.
‘I must be honest, I’d prefer they stayed at home and celebrated with the family — not a great party,’ said Conte.
‘I’m sure I have great professionals in my players. In this case, I don’t think a coach or a manager can say: “do this” or “don’t do this”.
‘I have great professionals and I know they will have the better attitude and behaviour in this situation. I think a glass of wine, one, is good.
‘This is a new experience for me and my family. Usually, in the Christmas period, I’m used to having a break, a holiday with my family. Now it’s fantastic to have this new experience, to play during the Christmas period in a new country.
‘In the past, I always watched these games in England on TV. Now, to live this situation, this atmosphere is fantastic.’
Next up for Conte and Chelsea is a game against the Premier League’s bottom side, Sunderland, at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night.
They then visit Crystal Palace on Saturday, before home games with Bournemouth and Stoke complete their 2016 schedule.