Antonio Conte's soft side revealed as Stefano Pioli says Tottenham manager placed meaningful call after Scudetto

20230211 Pioli ConteGetty Images
  • AC Milan won 2021-22 Scudetto
  • Conte one of few managers to call Pioli
  • Had been fierce rivals not long before

WHAT HAPPENED? The pair were long-term adversaries in Italy's top flight and will meet again on Tuesday when AC Milan host Spurs in their Champions League last-16 matchup. Despite numerous fierce encounters between them, Pioli underlined the respect shared between the two, as he revealed that ex-Inter boss Conte was one of the few managers to congratulate him on AC Milan's 2021-22 Scudetto triumph.

WHAT THEY SAID: "He is a very good coach who prepares matches well," Pioli said in a news conference. "With the characteristics of English soccer, pace, physicality and quality. It's a difficult challenge but it's inevitable for a Champions League round of 16. Conte is a great coach and he was one of the few colleagues to call me to congratulate me on the Scudetto. I was very pleased."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Pioli led Milan to their first league title in 11 years last campaign, the Rossoneri have fallen off the pace in Serie A of late, with just two wins in seven league matches since the turn of the year. Conte's men are on similar form after a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Leicester on Saturday, meaning both will be looking for an opportunity to bounce back in Tuesday's European clash.


Stefano Pioli Milan Fiorentina Serie AGettyPioli MilanGetty20221225 Antonio ConteGetty Images

WHAT NEXT? After the pair's meeting in mid-week, Milan travel to Monza on Saturday while Spurs host West Ham a day later. Both sides will be hoping to climb back into the Champions League places, as they are placed down in fifth in their respective leagues.

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