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

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AC Milan manager Stefano Piolo has shed light on Antonio Conte's softer side, as he revealed the Tottenham manager's phone call upon winning Serie A.
  • 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.

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Stefano Pioli Milan Fiorentina Serie A

Pioli Milan

20221225 Antonio Conte

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.