Chelsea were a disaster last season as they recorded the worst title defence in the history of Premier League. Jose Mourinho was sacked mid-way last campaign following a turbulent couple of months. Guus Hiddink was brought in as the interim to steady the ship and he did a wonderful job at restoring some of Chelsea’s lost pride. However Chelsea Hierarchy announced during the final phase of last season, that Italian manager Antonio Conte will be taking charge of the Blues come next season.
More than three months after he was officially appointed to succeed interim boss Hiddink, Chelsea supporters finally got the chance to welcome new manager Antonio Conte to Stamford Bridge this week, when he faced the glare of the British media for the first time. The expectation has risen following the Italian teams impressive performance in the recently concluded Euro 2016. He must now shift his focus to plotting how exactly he plans to restore the deposed Premier League champions to their former glory. Blues fan can look forward with optimism now as the Conte reign begins.
Here are the 3 things we learnt from his first press conference.
It’s A New Start
Conte used the word fight repeatedly in his first press conference. The fact that he had to learn the new language and he has worked hard on it, shows the level of dedication he has to the job. He hasn’t taken much of a break and has joined the Blues just 12 days after his Italian team went out of the Euro 2016. “It’s important to have players who are ready to fight,” said Conte. “In these two days, I saw players with the right attitude, with the right behaviour, with a great will to fight for this shirt,” he added. The Italian is aware of the task that is infront of him but given his past achievements, Chelsea fans will be pretty optimistic regarding their team’s future.
Terry Is Safe
The main topic of discussion was always going to be the future of John Terry, given the doubts surrounding his place in the team. But Conte made it very clear that Terry still has a future at the club and will remain the club captain for next season. Conte said that he and the club “took the decision together” to offer captain John Terry a one-year contract extension after the Italian was appointed one month before Terry’s contract expired. “I repeat, John Terry is an important player for me, the club and the fans,” he said. Strong words in support of the former English international.
Three At The Back Is Not Set In Stone
Everyone is aware of the fact that Conte has always preferred the 3-5-2 system, however the Italian made it clear in his first press conference that he will evaluate his players fully before making any cast-iron decisions. Conte is renowned for being a shrewd tactician and it was a testament to his abilities that Germany coach Joachim Low switched his system in Bordeaux in order to match the Azzurri. “Three at the back, four at the back… It’s not important. What’s important is the right spirit of the team and good organization,” he said.