ANTONIO CONTE has ‘nothing to prove’ to Chelsea when he returns to face the club who sacked him in 2018.
The new Spurs boss spent two years in charge at Stamford Bridge and won the Premier League and FA Cup before a bitter fall-out with owner Roman Abramovich.
Antonio Conte has overseen an impressive unbeaten run at SpursCredit: Reuters
And tomorrow’s Carabao Cup semi-final will be Conte’s first encounter with his former club since successfully suing them for unfair dismissal.
But the Italian, 52, says there will be no hard feelings despite their legal battle which resulted in him receiving a £9million pay-off — £26.6m in total including his backroom team.
Conte signed Lukaku for Inter Milan from Manchester United for £67m and together they won the Italian title last season.
But now Lukaku has been axed by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel after expressing regret over his £97.5m summer return to the Premier League.
Conte said: “I don’t want to speak about Romelu because he now plays for another team and it would be disrespectful.
“But it’s always a good thing to play against a team that has all their players available.
“For the people who watch the game, it’s nice to see the best players on the pitch. I spent two amazing seasons with Chelsea and it will be great to go back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since I left them as their manager.
“We did a really good job and now I don’t have to prove anything to anyone because I am a manager with a lot of experience who has done important jobs at other teams.
“I created a lot of friendships and had good relationships with the players, the staff and other people who still work there.
“So I have to thank Chelsea because they gave me the possibility to work in England and have my first experiences in the Premier League.
“But now I am the manager of Tottenham and I want to give this club 100 per cent and more. It’s very important for the club, the players and for the manager to win trophies but I think at this moment Chelsea are more ready to win than us.
“Last season they won the Champions League and we are still building with a lot of room for improvement.
“But the aspiration is to win this trophy and we will do everything we can to reach the final.”
Conte, who has lost just one of his 11 games since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo, is sweating over the outcome of his squad’s latest Covid tests ahead of tomorrow’s semi-final, first leg.
He said: “We’re checking a couple of situations but we’re not 100 per cent sure they’re going to miss the game.”
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Conte spent a successful two years with Lukaku with InterCredit: Reuters