To say that Conte has done well in his first four months in charge of competitive football at Chelsea is an understatement; the man has surpassed expectations, even Chelsea’s capitulation on their way to defending their 2014/15 EPL title was so bizarre and scary that everyone thought it would take a lot of time and work to get them back to the top. Not only was the team chemistry gone, the desire and hunger to play was missing as well, and the players who had been excellent months before were awfully below par. Personally, I knew we’d bounce back, but I didn’t think it’d be as quick and swift as it has been.
Conte’s arrival at Chelsea has changed a lot. The Italian technician has papered the cracks in the Chelsea team (or it would seem so), and gotten the team playing with purpose again, but just how much has the man managed to achieve in his first four months in charge of proceedings at the Bridge?
One of the biggest challenges he faced upon his arrival was getting the players to love the game again, and play with purpose. Throughout last season, Chelsea lacked purpose and ambition, for reasons still unclear, and that contributed to our poor finish, but this term, it’s flowing in abundance.
Players’ confidence is another area that Conte has done remarkably well. Before now, some of our top performers did not live up to their true potentials, but I think that this season has seen them in stunning form. Eden Hazard is one of the leading scorers in the league, and his all round performance level has improved. You can argue that it’s largely owing to his role change, but even the Belgian said that Conte is a top manager. Matic is back to his brilliant best, as well as Cahill and Azpilicueta.
Conte has also done well in the area of giving every player a chance to show what they can offer. I remember what we saw during Mou’s reign; even potentially good players were shipped off on loan. Victor Moses is a good example of this. A talented player, who was never truly given a real chance under Mourinho, but is currently having the best moment of his career under Conte. Moses isn’t the only one who has benefitted from the coach’s open door policy, the likes of Chalobah, Pedro and Loftus-Cheek are beneficiaries too. Conte is not the type of manager to write you off without giving you a proper chance; he gives everyone equal opportunity, and that has caused the players to have a more believing and competitive spirit.
It’s just been four months, but I’m sure we all can agree that Conte has definitely turned things around at Stamford Bridge. We started this season off as a team in transition. A team still trying to rebuild, but after 11 games, we surpassed those expectations. We’re second in the league, and all while playing amazing football. Even if we do not win the league, I think we’re in a good position to fight until the end.
Conte has proven that he’s not just a coach, he’s shown that he’s also a manager. The way he managed to steer us away from our early season blip is still one of the high points of his stay so far. I can keep going on and on about the many reasons why I think the Italian deserves all the accolades he’s getting, but then, I’m not sure I’d be telling you something you don’t already know. I will not say it’s going to be smooth-sailing all the way, there’ll be tough times, but even then, you can relax in knowing that we have a manager that can turn them around, as he’s done before. I believe in the Conte project, and I have a feeling he may be the long-awaited ‘Fergie’ Chelsea have been yearning for all these years.