Not many coaches go into an entirely new football league, and march away to the title; it usually takes some time to fully get used to the vagaries of the new challenge, but for current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, it would seem that the rule doesn’t apply to him. In well under a year since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, the Italian has completely transformed Chelsea. The same Chelsea side that sunk to dismal levels last time out in 2015/16 look different. There’s more hunger, and there’s a new found unity and belief within the team. Of course, pundits have widely credited our transformation and present league success to the swift tactical change initiated by Conte earlier this season, but if you have eyes that see beyond the obvious, you’d understand that there’s more to it all than just the tactical change.
There are many rules to successful management, one of which is having a positive relationship with those you manage, and that is the one rule that Antonio Conte appears to fully understand. Since his arrival, the Italian has built a very good rapport with the Chelsea players. Unlike some managers, he doesn’t really see his players as mere players; he sees and treats them as his buddies, and that is one factor that has helped his cause at Chelsea. The relationship he has built with his players is one that enables for a smooth and peaceful atmosphere, which are necessary ingredients for progress. We have read about how he allows the players drink beer after each win, and we have seen how he celebrates with the team after each game. The man understands exactly what is required to change a team that was in disarray, and he has applied it effectively at Chelsea. After the game against Stoke, Costa affirmed my stance, saying that the manager doesn’t really act like a manager, but as a friend, and that in training, he likes to play and laugh with everyone. That is exactly the kind of manager players would give their all, and even die for.
Conte is everything Mourinho used to be in his younger years, but seems to have forgotten. Unlike the Italian, Mou created an atmosphere of disunity and fear at Chelsea, with his blame game, threats and rants, but Conte is going in the exact opposite direction, and it’s working for him very well. Chelsea is well on course to win a 2nd league trophy in under 3 years, and it’s because we have a coach that’s doing all the right things.