Time To Get Back To The Business Of Football
With Roman Abramovich giving Antonio Conte a chance to get Chelsea`s season back on track or put another way giving him enough rope to hang himself, attention has to now focus on the Italian.
He`s said he wants to see out the remaining 18 months of his contract, we all know he won`t, but he does have a responsibility to try and finish the season strongly.
The transfer window has gone, the players he has, are the players he`s stuck with, whether he likes it or not. He also always said he`s 'happy to work with these players`, well now`s his chance. If he is to leave in the summer, there is still plenty to fight for.
With the squad having had three days off to rest, recuperate and reflect, when they all return to Cobham on Friday, hatchet`s must be buried and the season effectively, started all over again. All the nonsense of playing certain players (Bakayoko, Zappacosta) because he believes they`ve been foisted on him from above, has to stop.
It`s obvious there`s a power struggle going on between the two men, but there can only be one winner. We can argue all day long about how the owner runs his football club on our behalf, but it won`t win football matches. The players may not like the training regime Conte operates but they too, must knuckle down.
Speaking in the The Daily Mail, Giorgio Chiellini has been speaking about Conte`s training methodology. He played under Conte for three season at Juventus and with the Italian national team for two. He knows very well how hard the training is, he puts it down to that Italian temperament
`Italian passion,' Chiellini says, blowing his cheeks out. 'It is not only in the match with Conte. It is all day, every training session. He is like a police sergeant. We felt something very special in his atmosphere.`
'When you finish training, you are dead. Not tired — dead. You can do it only because you believe in what he does. We had 40 days in France and it was like entering another world. You are 100% with him. He creates an atmosphere, everyone gives energy to each other. For sure he is one of the very best.
Off the back of the last two Chelsea performances, his current charges may not, it would appear, quite be 100% with him. Chelsea have a home against West Brom on Monday, any Chelsea manager, who`s having a tough time fears the Baggies, they`re Chelsea manager killers.
Surely, at around 10pm following the game, we`ll be discussing a fine win. Conte will have returned to his old self, he`ll be smiling and fist pumping with the last two weeks all forgotten. There`s an interesting few days ahead. Certainly the managers pre-match conference on Friday will be one not to be missed.