There is a sentiment of general enthusiasm, eagerness and positive anticipation among Chelsea fans upon the official announcement and confirmation of Antonio Conte’s imminent arrival after the Euro 2016.
Chelsea Football club have confirmed on Monday that Antonio Conte will become the club’s permanent manager as the Italy boss has agreed on a three-year contract with the Stamford Bridge outfit.
But what is it that Chelsea fans can expect from the new boss?
Antonio Conte has built his managerial reputation working with Juventus, the club he led to three consecutive Scudetti.
Conte’s Juventus went undefeated in their first Serie A campaign and have gone to improve their points tally in each of the next two seasons in the Serie A. Conte’s Juventus became the first club to shatter the 100-point mark in the Italian league and Conte’s influence on Juventus as we know them today is immense.
The 46-year-old tactician is a huge motivator, but also a disciplinarian with an explosive temper. A highly demanding schemer is renowned for grinding out results and his undeterred man-management skills.
In a weird kind of way, Antonio Conte is the closest Chelsea will get to replicating Mourinho’s model.
Antonio Conte’s confirmation, expected and predicted as it may have been, did manage to raise a couple of eyebrows though.
Having sacked Jose Mourinho in December for the lack of results and due to the disrupted team atmosphere, Chelsea were not expected to replace the Portuguese with a manager that would seemingly possess so many similar characteristics to the Portuguese.
Antonio Conte’s nature makes him the Italian “Special One”, a boss who is tough on players, a result-driven manager who prefers winning to entertaining and a man who is not afraid to confront rivalling managers on the touchline and in the press.
His favourite catchphrase “Eat grass” speaks volumes of his coaching style.
Italian manager believes that repetition is the key to learning and his players are often put to rigorous training methods until each player’s role on the pitch becomes their second nature.
Flair, attractive style of play and eye-catching football play second fiddle to implementation of tactical concepts of Conte’s play which often undermine flamboyant football fans crave for.
Right choice for Chelsea?
If Roman Abramovic meant to hire an entertaining driver for his Chelsea bus, he has apparently made a wrong choice.
Contrary to Guus Hiddink, who has been a calming influence at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte is likely to stir the emotions once again. Not a stranger to bust-ups with players, Antonio Conte would not hesitate to dress down his players harshly as he fights to contain his own combative, stubborn but undeniably talented nature.
Many would wonder if Chelsea are getting ready to repeat the same error they made with Mourinho and whether Roman Abramovich should have considered offering Guus Hiddink a permanent role.
Conte became the tenth boss under the Russian owner, who has used his friend and confidant Hiddink as a cushion more than once at Stamford Bridge. Arguably a bit harsh on the calm and peaceful Dutch manager, who has been more than eager to help a friend in need.
Hiddink managed to steady the ship since December and will guide it to mid-table calm waters.
Sitting tenth in the Premier League, Chelsea are three points short off the seventh position Antonio Conte kicked off from at Juventus in his first year in charge. Chelsea travel to Swansea in the next round of the Premier League and are given the odds of 1/1 to claim the maximum three points that would push them further up the ladder.
It would be symbolic to see the Italian manager start his Chelsea career from the same point he did at Juventus and no doubt that Chelsea fans will be hoping for a similar outcome in the end.
One thing every Blues fan should bear in mind is Conte’s pending trial in relation to match-fixing investigation.
Last month it was reported that trial over his alleged failure to report match fixing while in charge at Siena is set to begin at the beginning of April. Conte was found guilty in 2010 when he was initially banned for 10 months, which was ultimately reduced to 4 months after appeal.
Italian manager missed 15 Juventus’ Serie A matches and six Champions League games in 2012.
Conte has repeatedly denied the charge, but he could end up being banned from all sporting activity for over six months if found guilty.
With his relentless, tough and hands-on approach combined with direct at times ruthless relationship with his players and all of the drama circulating the match fixing controversy, Antonio Conte comes to London with a bag full of questions.
First and the most important one – is Antonio Conte the right choice for Chelsea?