Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has said his former boss Antonio Conte leaves players 'dead' with his training methods -- but insists the under-pressure Chelsea manager is one of the best around.
Speculation surrounds Conte's future at Chelsea despite him having guided them to the Premier League title last season.
But Chiellini, 33, a mainstay of Juve's success under Conte, told the Daily Mail he had no doubt that he was a special coach and praised his "Italian passion."
He said: "It is not only in the match with Conte. It is all day, every training session. He is like a police sergeant.
"We felt something very special in his atmosphere, for three years with him at Juventus and two years in the national team.
"When you finish training, you are dead. Not tired -- dead. You can do it only because you believe in what he does.
"You are 100 percent with him. He creates an atmosphere, everyone gives energy to each other. For sure he is one of the very best."
Italy failed to qualify for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia, and Chiellini said he believed the success of Pep Guardiola had "spoiled and ruined the Italian defender."
He added: "He is a fantastic coach with a fantastic mind, but Italian trainers have tried to copy him without the same knowledge and then, in the last 10 years, we lost our identity.
"We lost our identity of [Paolo] Maldini, [Franco] Baresi, [Fabio] Cannavaro, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Giuseppe] Bergomi, [Claudio] Gentile, [Gaetano] Scirea ... between 1984 and 1995, we have only [Leonardo] Bonucci.
"In 10 years, we didn't launch one good defender. I hope now we restart and relaunch Italian football. The World Cup result [failing to qualify] is the proof of our problem."
Juventus face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League next week and Chiellini said he was looking forward to the challenge of facing prolific Spurs striker Harry Kane.
"Harry Kane is a fantastic player," he said. "He played against us three years ago and he has really improved.
"Now he scores more than Messi in a calendar year ... and that's very different to scoring more than Chiellini!"