By Harvey Byrne
Angelo Ogbonna has claimed that his former manager Antonio Conte improves every single player who works for him.
The 28-year-old centre-back starred under the current Chelsea boss at Juventus during the 2013-14 season and he has also featured for him in the Italy national team.
Ogbonna revealed that there are similarities of the methods of three-times Serie A winner Conte and West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.
“Conte has improved me as a player and all the players he worked with. I have a similar coach as well in Slaven who has the same character and both of them can improve players,” said Ogbonna to the official West Ham website.
“[Conte] is similar to Slaven, proper similar. Slaven has a good humour and good passion and doesn’t like to lose.
“When he loses he is so angry. I think he is similar, they look for the human being first and after that the player, that is how you can compare.”
Asked if Bilic was the most passionate manager he has worked for, Ogbonna said: “Yes, Conte and Slaven are very close.
“Nobody wants to cross him when he’s angry. But it’s normal, maybe it’s better for us that he’s angry and not smiling all the time. He has a good sense of humour, depending on the context.
“He can be angry when you prepare for a big match, maybe you feel, not just the manager but me as well, you are really concentrating because it’s a big match, sometimes it’s better to humour the team, you need to be a smiler.”
Ogbonna was brought to West Ham by Bilic last summer.
The two-time Serie A winner starred in 39 encounters for the Croatian boss last season in all competitions.
Bilic managed Croatia for six years between 2006 and 2012 before moving on to Lokomotiv Moscow, Besiktas and eventually ending up at his former east London club.
He has so far enjoyed success at the Olympic stadium, ensuring qualification to this season’s Europa League, while also maintaining a 43.40% win record in his 53 games in charge of the club.
West Ham will kick off their Premier League campaign at Stamford Bridge on Monday and Bilic will be keen to start where he left off last season.
In other West Ham team news, Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and Darren Randolph are available to play for the Hammers against Chelsea.