“Yes, I go to church today,” he said. “I go to an Italian church in Chelsea. I don’t pray for winning the Premier League title, but I do like to pray every day.
“I pray before breakfast, before lunch and before dinner to say thanks. But usually I like to pray for the safety of my family, and also of my players and my team.”
Conte can be a fiery personality on the touchlines during the heat of matches, but he never speaks badly about his Chelsea players in public. They are his sporting family and he looks after them; he cherishes them.
It is a contrast with his rival manager today, Jose Mourinho, who has made a habit in recent weeks of openly criticising some of his Manchester United squad.
Different managers have different styles, and these two will be in direct competition for a third time this season when United play at home to Chelsea this afternoon.
Both the previous games in the League and FA Cup were won by title favourites Chelsea against their former boss Mourinho.
Chelsea line-up predicted to face Manchester United Wed, April 12, 2017
Click through the gallery for the predicted Chelsea line-up to face Manchester United
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Click through the gallery for the predicted Chelsea team to face Man United
At the heart of the triumphs were David Luiz and Eden Hazard – two players who were eventually alienated by the managerial methods of Mourinho, and who are flourishing magnificently under Conte’s eagle eye.
Luiz was sold by Chelsea in the regime of Mourinho and re-signed early this season by Conte as vital cog in his preferred 3-4-3 tactical system.
“I heard a lot of bad things said about David when he arrived at the club again and I heard people wondering why he was coming back to Chelsea,” said Conte.
“I heard that he had performed badly and that he was ‘not a defender’ and that we were spending a lot of money on him.
“This was a great challenge for him, but also for me.
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“But when we decided to buy him, to take him back, we were sure. We were sure we were buying a really good play and put him against as one of the best defenders in Europe and, I hope, in the world.
Antonio Conte is determined to win the title with Chelsea
“You can see that David is a really strong defender, and I have always repeated to him that it’s very important to have the right concentration. His role is crucial for us and I think he has performed very well.
“He is strong, he has good technique, he can start our possession, and he has the personality to do this. The position is fantastic for him.”
Luiz is clearly appreciating both the Chelsea tactical system and the managerial style of Conte, which pushes relentlessly hard in private but is endlessly supportive.
The same seems to be true for Hazard, one of the contenders for the PFA player of the year award along with team-mate N’Golo Kante.
“I’m very pleased they have been nominated,” said Conte, “because this is my task — to put every single player in the best situation, physically, tactical and mentally, so they can give the best of themselves.
David Luiz has silenced his Chelsea critics
“We are doing a great job with the players. During the game you can see their commitment, and I think that’s great. Eden is working very well for the team — with and without the ball.
“Eden is becoming a complete player, which is great for him.”
Conte explained how he tries to boost his players with individual meetings, adding: “I think it’s very important to speak with your players. I also think it’s very important to find the right moment to speak with them.
“You do it at the start of the season, but also during the season when you understand there is less hunger and less concentration. It’s normal that he focus is a bit less than before when you have a good result.”
It’s hard to argue with the sense of Conte’s methods when his team have performed so well, still in with a great chance of winning The Double.
You wondered whether he would like to have seen one of his defenders on the PFA nomination list, someone like Luiz, captain Gary Cahill or the ever-present Cesa Azpilicueta.
“It’s more difficult for defenders,no?” he said.
“For this reason Paolo Maldini (the supreme Italian left back) never won the best player in the world award. The defenders are a bit penalised, aren’t they.”
Even the power of prayer will struggle to change that foolish reality of football.