It will be The Man in Black against the Man in Black And White tonight.

Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid boss, never varies his touchline outfit and Chelsea coach Antonio Conte rarely changes from his usual dark suit with white shirt.

It doesn’t usually matter a fig what managers wear at big matches but when these two clubs meet, it will provide an diversionary sub-plot before kick-off.

Simeone dresses all in black like some Spaghetti Western gunslinger precisely for that reason – so he can look like a Spaghetti Western gunslinger.

Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

It re-inforces his image as an infamous brooding, combative football hard case.

It also transmits an emphatic message about his team; they are tough, committed, organised and not be messed with, as well as possessing vast talents like Antoine Griezmann. And it works.

Conte favours a more suave style to match with his dashing blue eyes, although he is as manic in the dug-out as the man he will face in Atletico’s huge new Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

It is a trademark look, too – so much so that when Conte wore a track-suit for the opening-day defeat by Burnley, it was instantly suggested he was sending am unhappy signal to the boardroom regarding their summer spending.

It eventually turned out that he had lost track of his favoured match-day three-piece during a house move. But that’s how things work amid the modern-day fascination with football managers, who are bigger names than most players these days.

Every word, every act, every gesture is up for interpretation.

It is precisely that which made so noteworthy the strangely subdued comments Conte made about this season’s Champions League in an interview this week with the Italian broadcaster RadioUno.

There was a distinct lack of swagger and confidence about his view of his team’s chances this season after they spent the last campaign out of European competition.

Perhaps he was simply being realistic. But it seemed odd coming from the coach of a team where the all-consuming aim of the owner, Roman Abramovich, is to win the competition again and again and again.

Assessing a group which includes Atletico – twice beaten finalists in the past four seasons – and Roma, Conte said: “We weren’t lucky in the draw and we’ve got one of the hardest groups.

Chelsea training on 26th September 2017 – In pictures

“Atletico have done well in all the most important competitions over the last few years and reached various finals and semi-finals. They have a strong side.

“I also know Roma very well. They compete for the highest honours in Italy and will do the same in other competitions.

“We returned to the Champions League with great enthusiasm and we want to do our best. But we have to be careful. We just have to find a way to get through the group, and then prepare for the next draw.”

Simon Johnson previews Atletico vs Chelsea

This is a huge week for Chelsea. Last season, they won the title impressively while being free of the rigours of European competition. Nobody denied that it helped.

They now face an Atletico side second-placed in La Liga and buoyed by the fact that Simeone – in charge since 2011 – has signed a contract extending his command of the club until 2020.

They then face the rampant Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

It is the first time that their credentials have faced a double examination abroad and at home under Conte.

Conte’s interview suggested that the challenge was preying on his mind rather than inspiring him.

It struck an awkward note in the wake of Alvaro Morata’s splendid hat-trick at Stoke and his confirmation that the striker looks a superb replacement for Diego Costa, who will be in the stands tonight as he closes in on a transfer return to Atletico.

It may even be that the fractious behind-the-scenes mood of the summer months has not quite subsided, despite the pick-up in Chelsea’s form.

In Pictures | Stoke City vs Chelsea | 23/09/2017

Despite his triple success in Serie A with Juventus, Conte has not enjoyed a huge impact in Champions League football as a manager, although he won it as a player with the Turin club in 1996.

In 2013-14, they lost in the last eight against Bayern Munich and the following season, they were eliminated at the group stage.

That may explain Conte’s wariness about Chelsea’s return to the competition.

But the bookies agree with his view that the club may initially struggle to regain their status as one of the real power-houses, with Real Madrid, PSG, Barcelona, Bayern, Man City and Manchester United are all rated more likely winners.

United will be in action tonight against CSKA Moscow, where they beat Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final.

It was part of a long learning curve which finally led Chelsea to victory in the competition in Munich in 2012.

It seems that Conte fears they only may be back at the foot of that same curve in Madrid tonight.