We have won the league title this season, and it’s well-deserved. Our players and coach put in so much to make sure we got here, and they deserve their reward. With the FA cup still up for grabs, it has been a wonderful first season for Conte, whether or not we win it. What he’s done is very commendable, but the work is only about to start, and I’m sure he knows it.
Chelsea are a top European team with heavy expectations season in, season out, and for owner, Roman Abramovich, winning and succeeding is all that counts. It doesn’t matter what your accomplishment was, he only cares about your present accomplishment. He will be expecting Conte to deliver the EPL title next season too (which honestly, isn’t out of place), and make reasonable progress in his debut UCL season in charge of an English team. If Conte fails to live up to those expectations, we all won’t like the likely outcome. Of course, he can replicate this season’s success in the coming months and years, but he has to be prepared for the challenge ahead because trust me, it’s not going to the same ball game next season.
We can argue it all we want, but the truth is that we have made so much progress and achieved success this season because we had little or no competition in the title fight this ending campaign. Both Manchester clubs have been inconsistent, likewise Liverpool and Arsenal. The only thing close to good competition we had was Tottenham, but they too didn’t quite cut it. But they’re not stupid, they’ll come back better next season, and try to give us a run for our money in the league tussle.
Tottenham appears the likeliest threat to us next season judging by the way they’ve improved over the course of the campaign, but I also expect the other clubs in the top 6 to be battle ready too. So we too must be ready to keep going.
Mourinho’s greatest undoing was failure to identify and acquire reinforcements before the 2015/16 campaign kicked off. He thought he had the best team in the league already, and didn’t need to add new players, and by the time he realised he was wrong, it was too late.
Conte must not let himself be blinded by the success of this season. It’s going to be the UCL, Capital One, FA Cup, and EPL next season, that’s a whole lot of games to be played. He must be prepared for it. His tactical prowess has never been in doubt, but he needs to acquire more players to help with the expanding fixture list. He must get his targets identified in time, and acquire them before the pre-season games. The earlier, the better.
I have faith in Conte, and the players we have right now, but trust me, if we go into the coming campaign with our squad still looking unchanged, we may have to pay dearly for it. The game is a battle of wits and checks, and only the best survive.