Football is fast becoming a too result-oriented sport and the need to be successful comes with much pressure. Gone are the days when securing Champions League football or finishing second-best for a big club was deemed a success, but now anything less than winning silverware is deemed failure. Agonizingly, instead of the under-performing players, it is the managers that pay the price for any bout of failure. Inasmuch football has made giant strides with creative ideas that have bettered the game, the sum of its parts has a diminishing effect on the football world, especially the managers.
The effect of our ‘new football world’ was well played-out by last summer’s influx of the best managers in the Premier league. Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, Liverpool’s Jurgen Kloop, Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea’s Antonio Conte. Remarkably, it was dubbed the Champions league of the world-best managers. The die was cast, and the early season bets and predictions was centred on a title fight between the Manchester clubs owing to the rivalry and managerial savvy of their managers. The other managers were seen as supporting casts. But come the end of the season, the football world will only witness the unlikeliest of Premier league winner – Chelsea’s Antonio Conte (the one I call The Confather). For sure, Chelsea have won the league and have also been swashbuckling under the watchful eyes of the Italian maestro.
How on earth did the title not end up in Merseyside, Manchester or North London? It’s a simple fact with details. While other manager bristled with confidence and talking up their sides chances of winning the league, Conte was plotting the greatest transformation in Premier league era. His influence in turning last season’s underachievers into a giant winning force is amazing. His mentality is unique and, here are two quotes to pinpoint his ambition during the summer:
“I hope we can surprise people, that there is a small flame flickering that can grow into a blazing inferno.”
“A manager is like a tailor. You must build the best dress for the team and respect their characteristics.”
Conte’s tactical savvy has not only transformed Chelsea, but also the league. His tactical system is now an identikit for many clubs. His tactical influence is now the latest magic effect in the league. Kudos Antonio!
The pressure of managing Chelsea should have been daunting enough for him to reject the Chelsea job offer in the summer, but the Italian challenged himself and his team to it. I’m sure with this title win, Conte is surely on course to becoming Chelsea’s greatest manager after Judas(Jose Mourinho). While his managerial counterparts are seething over a missed opportunity, Conte can revel and be sure he has written his name in history book.
Let’s celebrate our very own, Antonio Conte. Cheers!