One of the biggest problems coaches face in football is keeping every single player in their squad happy. For football teams with a relatively small squad and few high-profile players, it’s not much of a problem, because the coach can manage to squeeze everyone into games, either as starters or substitutes. Also, featuring in multiple competitions during a season makes it easy for the coach. A team playing in the Champions League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the EPL, for instance wouldn’t find it hard keeping players happy because there are plenty of games to go around in the course of the season. The absence of these can pose a real problem for a coach and his team.
A poor outing last season automatically meant that we’d be missing out of the Champions League this season, leaving us in just 3 competitions— the FA Cup, the EFL and the Premiership, but of course, just the other day we were knocked out of the EFL Cup, so now, we only have the EPL and the FA cup to participate in. With the enormous squad we have and the sort of big name players we have, it’s going to be difficult for Conte to keep everyone happy by giving them enough game time, considering that we aren’t involved in many competitions.
Also, lately due to the change in philosophy, and injuries maybe, we’ve seen a different crop of players take to the starting eleven,and we’ve been successful with them. Ivanovic has not featured for a while as a result of injury, but in his stead, Moses has impressed. He’s back from injury now, but his entry back into the team isn’t guaranteed because Conte wouldn’t like to destabilise the good chemistry his team has now. Terry is also there, replaced by Luiz, after his injury lay off too. Kurt Zouma, summer signing Michy Batshuayi, Cesc Fabregas and Mikel Obi are other star names that have been frozen out of the first team. Now, the League Cup would have been their best for getting some game time, but we’re already out of that one, so there’s a complication there. How is Conte going to keep these guys happy at Chelsea, with some of them still in their prime, and not assured of regular first team football? It’s definitely going to be difficult, and already, there are rumours that some of them, including Fabregas and Mikel are looking to move away in search of regular playtime.
I know that these things do happen in football, after all there is no way everyone can play at a time, and because of our status as a big club, we’ll always have top players on the bench, but it really hurts to see a good player languishing on the bench. Fabregas was a great player for us before now, but he’s suddenly been relegated to the background. It is just disheartening, but then again, it happens. I just hope that these guys are patient enough to stay back and fight for their spot in the first team. The FA Cup will be kick starting soon, and that would be another platform for them to use to get some game time. If we do well this season, we’ll be in the UCL next season; that’s more opportunities too. I just hope that these guys are patient enough to wait, but if they don’t, you can’t blame them, because the essence of being a footballer is actually playing. That said, I feel very much for Conte because I can only imagine what he’s going through as the manager of Chelsea. It’s not easy to manage a top team, let alone, one like Chelsea. He’s had to make decisions that were difficult to make, but ultimately, the team’s well-being is everything.