The International break can be a blessing and as well a curse for football managers. If your team is in ascendancy, it will be a curse as it can kill momentum, derail your chances of winning silverware and leave you short on numbers as players could pick up threatening injuries that could halt team progress. While on a flip side, it could be a blessing especially if there’s pressure on you as a manager. When results are poor, the break gives ample time to reflect and come up with a magic to sort out the team. Either way it’s good for the growth of football. I think Antonio Conte will be happy with the International break. His experience as a national team coach should make him bear the pain of not having his players at Cobham as they prepare for the World Cup. But with Chelsea’s season at its climax point, the Italian would be hoping his key players return unscathed and that the momentum gained from the hard-fought win over Leicester City which sealed our passage to the FA Cup semifinals is not killed.
In reality, Chelsea and Conte have nine cup finals to play as the season approaches its end. While winning all nine games will be important, three of those nine games are six-pointers. The home matches against Spurs and Liverpool are must-win games to help us finish in the top four to secure Champions league qualification. The match against Southampton is also a must-win as it will seal our passage to the FA Cup finals and give us a possibility to win silverware.
There will be no easy ride for Conte and the team as every game now counts for and against us depending on the final result. As the players return from the International break, they must be focused, be ready to put their bodies on the line, sweat blood for the Chelsea shirt, suffer for team and fight to save our season from being a total failure. The time is now!
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!