What We Learnt From Antonio Conte’s First Press Conference As Chelsea Manager
Antonio Conte outlined his responsibilities in front of the English media today for the first time as Chelsea manager. Conte described himself as a ‘Tailor’ who wants to make the ‘best dress’ for Chelsea as they look for a return to Champions League football at the first time of asking.
What We Learnt From Antonio Conte's First Press Conference As Chelsea Manager
Conte hopes that his players and fans will quickly forget about last season’s abysmal performance in the Premier League and look to the future as he takes on his first involvement in English football. As well as stating that Chelsea belong in the Champions League the Italian said he knows the way to get back to winning titles and it takes ‘work, work, work’.
The Italian boss also confirmed that Chelsea Legend John Terry will remain as club captain despite being told he is to play a smaller role this season than in previous years when he signed his contract, a decision Conte said he was involved in. Conte wasn’t drawn into talking about John Terry’s decreased role but stated ‘I repeat, John Terry is an important player for me, the club and the fans’.
Antonio Conte said he plans to speak to fellow Italian Claudio Ranieri about life in the Premier Lague and Conte will need some of Ranieri’s shrewd recruitment skills to rebuff a Chelsea squad that lacked ideas towards the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign last season. Chelsea have already completed the signing of Belgian International striker Michy Batshuayi on a 5 year deal for £33 Million from Marseille to compete with a lack lustre Diego Costa who was so out of sorts last season he didn’t even make Spain’s Euro 2016 squad.
Hanging onto the improving Eden Hazard could Conte’s biggest task with PSG and Real Madrid sniffing around the Belgian but if he can keep Hazard and improve the squad Chelsea should be on a one way ticket back to the top 4. Conte is expected to target another defender or 2 if he is to bring his 3-5-2 formation to England as well as some cover for ageing John Terry and Gary Cahill, injured Kurt Zouma and inconsistent Branislav Ivanovic. Chelsea are reported to be challenging Man City in signing Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci if not John Stones looks to be on his way out of Everton with Stamford Bridge a possible target.
Conte may also look to add a box-to-box midfielder very much in the departed Ramires mould to rival Matic and Fabregas, potential targets could be a shock hijack of Man Utd’s move for Paul Pogba or Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante. Out wide, Chelsea have been warned off of talismanic West Ham midfielder Dmitiri Payet by the Hammers £50 Million price tag, but don’t expect this to bother Roman Abrhamovic but failing this could move for Lazio’s Felipe Anderson. Gabriel Barbosa, Amadou Diawara and Joao Mario have also been linked to the Blues.
Conte throughout his press conference referred to teamwork as the key to success and stated that he will ‘win and lose’ with his team as he hopes to have Chelsea at the right end of the table this season after last season’s horror show.
The Blues are slight outsiders to win the 2016/2017 Premier League at a top price of 13/2 with Paddy Power. Elsewhere, they are 7/1 to lift the FA Cup with Betfred and 8/1 to lift the League Cup with BetVictor.