New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte can hold his own against Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in the Premier League this season, according to one of the Italian’s former team-mates.
Ex-Juventus defender Gianluca Zambrotta is backing his old club colleague to have a big impact at Stamford Bridge, and he insists Conte deserves his place alongside the English top-flight’s other managerial heavyweights.
Conte began work as Chelsea boss earlier this week after leading Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. He arrives with an impressive coaching CV that includes three Serie A titles with Juve.
Following a disappointing 2015-16 season in which they surrendered their Premier League title, the Italian is tasked with returning silverware to Chelsea – a feat likely to be made all the more difficult by the appointment of Guardiola at Manchester City and Mourinho at Manchester United.
But Zambrotta – who played with Conte for five seasons at Juventus, as well as at international level – says his old team-mate belongs in such elite company.
“I think the three of them have similar personalities and are more or less at the same level,” Zambrotta told Sky Sports.
“Antonio Conte has a great football mind and he’s very dedicated.
“He’s very professional and is an excellent motivator.”