On match days, one popular ritual of the Chelsea fans has been the famous chants of “Antonio, Antonio!”. Such is the influence of Chelsea Italian Manager and winning the Premier league title against all odds last season was phenomenal. The silverware brought more love for him from the supporters. This was something Conte was quick to appreciate during last weekend’s 2-0 win over Southampton that sealed our ticket to the final. In his words:
“It’s very important for the players, for the club and especially for our fans. I’m delighted for them. Always this season they showed great passion and pushed us in every moment, difficult moments and positive moments.”
Quite rightly the supports for the Italian has been unwavering. In what has been a topsy-curvy season for Chelsea, the hearts of most Chelsea fans turned against Conte. Issues of power tussle with the club’s board, tactical incompetence (deploying of Hazard as a false nine), late tactical substitutions, player power issues (David Luiz), and inconsistencies contributed to loss of faith in Conte.
But improved performances and results have laid to rest the issues with Conte. Here are 2 ways Conte has won back the hearts of Chelsea fans:
SHOW OF TACTICAL MASTERCLASS:
If winning the league in style with a display of tactical savvy endeared Conte to the fans last season, then defeats against Spurs at Stamford Bridge and the submissive defeats to Manchester City killed the affection. But steadily the Italian has won back the hearts of the Chelsea fans with good tactical makeovers. His tactical nous was brought to fore in our 3-2 win over Southampton. In the league game against the Saints, his double substitution to bring in Giroud for Morata and Pedro for Zappacosta to change the shape of the team from 3-4-3 to 4-2-3-1 made the difference. Chelsea scored three goals in 20 minutes to overturn a 2-0 deficit. That’s what the supporters love to see. Also against Burnley the pairing of Giroud and Morata was a good tonic for both strikers. And in the win over the Saints, his timely introduction of his substitutes was superb. His recent tactical sparks has rekindled the supporters love for him.
NO MORE INTERNAL FRICTIONS:
One major theme of Chelsea’s season has been Conte’s friction with the power brokers at the club. Most supporters feel this has disrupted serenity at the club. But more recently, his silence over internal issues has been better and his willingness to find solutions to Chelsea malaises has seen him find his way back into the hearts of the Blues faithful.
Hopefully his love affair with the fans will go beyond the season.
Keep the blue flag flying high. Cheers!