The story with the cake, shared with a reporter in a press conference didn`t do any harm to Antonio Conte’s image.
He is up for a joke, natural and impulsive and easy to communicate to. Good and genuine bloke.
One would point of course to the fact that the “cake joke” came after a 3-0 win at the home of Leicester City and it is easy to be relaxed after a performance like that.
But that is not the case with Conte. He is what he is in any situation – never hiding behind a mask and – so far at least – doesn’t let the stress of a title chase to get to him.
Conte the motivator was at full flow at Leicester during the game. One detail that strikes with the Italian is how he is always struggling with his voice after games. That is not a pose, not a mask or acting – he just gives so much and shouts so loud that there is little left for the post match reaction.
Chelsea are happily dancing to his tune. On the field they look determined and clear in what he wants and the results are obvious – 7 points clear at the top.
The fans are loving it, singing his name before, during and after games. Conte responds with marching of the field after final whistle, fist pumping, jumping and cheerleading in infectious manner that is to be seen elsewhere in the Premier League only in the repertoire of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
Conte the explosive leader, Conte the joking and smiling one… Conte the tactical master, reshaping the team to his favorite formation with 3 at the back… Chelsea are gliding through the Premier League with him at the front.
But there is also Conte the ruthless one.
He doesn’t think for a minute about leaving out Diego Costa, his top scorer, after a personal and transfer connected raw meant the attitude of the forward is in danger for the dressing room atmosphere.
Costa is training alone, Conte is marching on. And when he eventually shows the way back into the team to the fiery striker – and that will happen on the manager’s decision – Costa will be dancing to Conte`s tune.
That is the way Chelsea works these days. And so far it works very well, indeed.