Chelsea’s new head coach has promised that he’ll draw on the experience he gained during his time in Italy as Juventus manager in order to help the Blues return to the top of the Premier League table.
Conte took over at Stamford Bridge in July, having spent the summer leading the Italy national side during the European Championships in France. He saw his Chelsea side take the lead during Monday night’s London derby with West Ham before being pegged back through a James Collins goal. They won the match in the 89th minute when Diego Costa scored, with the Spaniard lucky to still be on the pitch following an earlier horror tackle on West Ham’s goalkeeper Adrian.
The Blues suffered an abysmal season last time out, as José Mourinho was sacked in December and Guus Hiddink came in to replace him on a temporary basis. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ is now the Manchester United manager and Conte is hoping that the time he spent in Italy will see Chelsea challenging for titles once more.
Juventus had finished seventh for two successive years when their former player was installed as manager in 2011. He then went on to win three consecutive Serie A titles with La Vecchia Signora and he’s determined to do the same thing with Chelsea, knowing that the Stamford Bridge club finished in a disappointing tenth position last time out.
Speaking after his side’s 2-1 home win on Monday the Italian said, “Juventus hadn’t won the title for many, many years and at the start it did not appear easy. I remember that because confidence was low and the players didn’t trust themselves. It’s important to work in that situation and I remember we worked very hard”.
It is work that Conte believes is crucial to any chance of success in what will be a very competitive Premier League this season. He continued, “We can see a bit of the same situation now, no? After a bad season, 10th place was no good for the players, confidence was low and the fans weren’t happy with this situation. But I know only one word that we must follow and that is to work, and to work very hard. If we stay together, in bad and in good situations, very, very soon we will try to go back to playing for the title. It’s not easy, but we must try and we must find the right motivation, the right spirit to fight”.
One of Chelsea’s new signings, N’Golo Kante, believes that the manager’s work ethic and spirit will be crucial to the club’s forthcoming season and confirmed it’s why he decided to leave the defending Premier League champions in order to head to West London. He said, “I chose Chelsea because I spoke with the manager here and when I did that, I realised the capacity of the manager and that is why I made my decision. Now I have discovered him, and discovered how he is training, how he is, and what I can say is he is passionate and a hard worker. He likes to communicate, to make me understand his idea of football here”.
Kante also shares his manager’s desire to see Chelsea return to the top end of the Premier League and is convinced that Conte knows how to get the most out of him. Kante: “He said he knows how I play and he thinks I can be a good player for his team and that’s why I’ve come here. And, of course, I like Premier League football and that is why I decided to stay in this league. My ambition is to achieve good things with the club, to get success in the Premier League and, I hope, return to the Champions League. To the supporters, the only thing I would like to say now is that I will always give my best for the club, for the team”.