Move over Jose Mourinho, we have a new ‘Special One’ at Stamford Bridge. Michy Batshuayi’s late winner against West Brom effectively sealed the Premier League Title for Chelsea. But the West London outfit owes its success to the genius of Antonio Conte, who has well and truly extinguished the ghost of last season’s horror show. The Italian has taken this Chelsea team from the dredges and has brought them back to the mantle of English football. And he has completed this herculean task all in a space of a year.
But before we praise Conte for his astonishing heroics, let’s not forget that he was heavily scrutinised after a relatively poor start to the season. After two consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool, the Chelsea fans were fearing yet another disastrous season on the cusp. However, Conte quickly realised that a change was needed to restore parity in the club. Switching to his preferred 3-4-3 system which worked wonders for him at Juventus, was a masterstroke. Chelsea would go on to win the next 13 games after that loss to Arsenal in September. This 13-game winning streak also included a 4-0 demolition of Manchester United, currently managed by the one and only Jose Mourinho. Make no mistake about it, changing formations was no easy task. It involved a lot of passion, motivation and an unrelenting work ethic.
Those who have worked under Antonio Conte talk of his incredible work ethic and precise attention to detail. “He’s the toughest coach you could imagine, someone who demands everything of his players, his staff, the doctors, the physios … everyone at the club has to give 100%.”, said Luca Marrone, an Italian U-21 player who worked under Conte at Juve.Some of the Chelsea players did not take too kindly to some of the training methods adopted by Antonio Conte during pre-season. The gruelling training sessions, the strict diet regimes and the analysis of the endless videos seemed a bit too taxing to the players.
Slowly yet steadily, they grew into this philosophy of football.With the amount of talent that this squad possesses all that was needed was the motivation and the guidance. And Antonio was the perfect man for the role. The enormous workload has reaped handsome benefits with Chelsea winning a record 29 games this season. Hard work does pay off after all.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Conte is his passion for the game. His touchline antics have brought a new energy to the Premier League. The Italian paces up and down his technical dug-out barking orders at his players for the entirety of the game. The man can be seen constantly directing his players and motivating them from the sidelines. Conte can be quite relentless at times, demanding the utmost concentration from his players.
His celebrations are also something to savour. The gaffer is known for his wild bursts of joy whenever a Chelsea player puts the ball in the back of the net. His whimsical antics on the pitch are what makes him so likeable, especially among the neutrals.
Looking Forward to the Future
The Premier League victory for Chelsea caps an astonishing debut season for Conte at the Bridge. But now is where the real challenge lies. It was not too long ago when Jose Mourinho was sacked as manager of Chelsea, just six months after guiding them to Premier League glory. Surely a repeat of that nightmare is not on the cards for Chelsea. Chelsea will need heavy reinforcements during the summer transfer window if they want to challenge for the Champions League. With rumours of Diego Costa leaving for China, Conte will be on the lookout for a suitable replacement. The Chelsea manager will also be in pursuit of a centre-back to fill the massive void that will be left by the departing John Terry. But fret not Chelsea fans, Antonio Conte is a man with a mission and he is here to take Chelsea to the finish line.