I love the game of football for its compelling aura to initiate different thoughts at the same time. Chelsea’s match against Manchester United on Sunday offered widespread reviews with much of the pre-game talks centred on Jose Mourinho’s return to his old stomping ground. The memories of the effect of his last visit as Inter Milan manager to Stamford Bridge saw us eliminated in the Champions League. This was hurtful yet we were supportive of him in adversity. This game brings with it mixed feelings for all Chelsea supporters. More so, Chelsea’s crisis of last season was still fresh in mind as his return inched closer. After Jose and his charges succeeded in keeping Liverpool at bay on Monday Night, we were ready for the good, the bad and the ugly. But, guess what? Conte had a magic to exhibit under his sleeves as he pointed out in his pre-match conference:
“I think that it is important to win, but for me it is also important to win in the right way,” Conte said. “Sometimes it happened to me at other clubs that we won, but I was not satisfied with the performance. When you win, it is important to put in a good performance for our fans. To win is important, but it is also important to play good football, to play with good intensity, to always show the will to win, the passion.”
“To set out to play for a draw is not Conte’s way. “It is right always to play for a win, to start a game trying to win,” Conte said. “I always try to transfer these thoughts to my players. Home or away, it must be the same. You must start the game with only one target: to win. Not to play for a draw. I don’t like this, it’s not football.” He said.
Indeed, this was obvious in our demolition of the Red Devils. Both sides are in a rebuilding process. For Chelsea, we’ve been in the mould of Jose for many years adopting a pragmatic, drab and ‘negative’ playing pattern that has often been criticised, yet been arguably successful. Conte needed to change it, especially after last season’s debacle. For United, the club’s years in obscurity after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement was and is still worrisome. Jose’s methodologies seem needed to salvage the situation. The big question prior to kick off was: Which of both clubs would actually lay claim to be making progress while in transition period? Chelsea answered loudly with a magnificent performance — our best so far this season.
The players harried, showed verve, flair and the passion to win. Conte’s 3-4-3 system is a masterstroke blueprint that is maximising the potentials in his team. We were slick, expansive, dominant and scoring goals for fun. This was a change from Jose’s imbued old chivalric defensive habit into a more expansive style that clicks on all fronts. We can now look into the future with assurance that we are in safe hands. For United, they moan and groan like the ‘noisy rival’, have their tails between their legs and look down and may be out of the picture.
Let’s take a chill pill and hope for the very best. Cheers!