London - Antonio Conte has apologised after the Chelsea
manager was sent to the stands for a furious touchline rant during his side's
1-0 win over Swansea.
Conte was incensed with Swansea's time-wasting throughout
the first half at Stamford Bridge and his frustration boiled over when referee
Neil Swarbrick failed to award Chelsea a clear corner.
The Italian's constant complaining reached a peak with that
incident and fourth official Lee Mason responded by telling Swarbrick, who
immediately sent Conte to the stands.
Conte initially retreated to seats behind the Chelsea bench,
but he had to watch the second half on television in the home changing room
before seeking out Swarbrick and Mason to say sorry.
"It's right to apologise for what happened during the
game. I apologised to both of them," he said.
"In the first half I saw Swansea was wasting time. I
said this a few times to the fourth official.
"I didn't see anything change. I was frustrated with
"I tried to tell him again. Then the referee took this
decision. For sure I made a mistake. I was frustrated.
"I was a bit animated. For this reason the fourth
official lost his patience.
"The fault is mine, not the fourth official."
Conte could be fined for his first dismissal since his move
to Chelsea 18 months ago.
However, he insisted he didn't swear and unless Swarbrick
disagrees in his report to the Football Association, Conte is unlikely to be
hit with a touchline ban.
It is five years since Conte last saw red and he admitted
being banished from the touchline was a painful experience.
"It's a pity. I watched the rest of the game on a
screen in the changing room," he said.
"I could see very well but I don't like to stay in
"I suffered in the changing room. You don't have the
possibility to communicate with your players. It's very tough."
Conte's angst was eased by Antonio Rudiger's headed winner
in the second half.
But even then he couldn't be completely satisfied as leaders
Manchester City snatched a late winner themselves against Southampton to remain
11 points clear of third placed Chelsea.
Asked how he felt about City's superb run, Conte said:
"I think Manchester City won another game at the end.
"I have great respect for a team that doesn't give up
until the end.
"If they are able to win many games at the end it means
they trust until the end.
"They are doing something incredible. When you do this
sort of situation you must be a bit lucky.
"For us it is important to look at ourselves. We are
improving since the start of the season and we have good balance.
"My feeling now is we are better than the start of the
Conte also admitted he doesn't know if David Luiz's knee
injury will keep him out for a long period after the defender missed the
"I hope to not lose him for a lot of time," he
Swansea remain second bottom as the pressure mounts on boss
Paul Clement, whose team are without a win in six league games and haven't
scored in their last four.
"Most disappointing for me is the nature of the goal.
We had players with their backs turned, they weren't in the right
position," Clement groaned.
Clement's cause wasn't helped by another poor performance
from Renato Sanches, the Portugal midfielder on loan in south Wales from Bayern
Sanches was hauled off at half-time and Clement admitted his
player's confidence is in tatters.
"He had a poor half. I feel for him," Clement
"I don't think he's shown the talent he has this
season. He's struggling for confidence and form.
"I'm behind him but he's got to start doing the simple