Decorated Conte Looks The Ideal Choice For Chelsea And Abramovichby Andy Dillon / 08 September 2016, 12:10Tweet
If you like you could bill it as SunSport's Andy Dillon highlights that Antonio Conte is the first Chelsea boss since Carlo Ancelotti who can look the players in the eye when it comes to his playing career.
ROMAN ABRAMOVICH may just have scratched his seven year itch.
Back in 2009 Chelsea’s monopolistic Russian owner unveiled Carlo Ancelotti as his fourth permanent manager since buying the club and revolutionising English football.
It was at a time when Abramovich’s power was at its most ferocious and when his team employed John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba at the height of their powers.
When the elusive gas tycoon’s appetite for success was never more insatiable and his team never better equipped to symbolise the brash, in-yer-face image of modern football.
Two seasons later Ancelotti was sacked having won the English double for the first time in Chelsea’s history - yet it still wasn’t perceived as good enough to a relative newcomer to the uncontrollable beauty of sport.
How times have changed at Stamford Bridge and how Abramovich has been searching ever since Ancelotti’s sad exit for someone in his mould.
Chelsea’s latest manager is Antonio Conte and the only one of the six men to occupy the manager’s position since Ancelotti who can live up to the Italian’s glittering CV as a player.
Ancelotti won three Italian league titles and the European Cup twice with AC Milan.
Conte won five Serie A titles and the Champions League - all with Juventus as a midfielder.
It’s no coincidence and it’s no surprise either that the new man seems to have walked into Stamford Bridge and immediately commanded the respect of his players - largely the same group of players that performed so miserably last season.
Eden Hazard said as much only this week: “Antonio knows how to trust players and it helps that he has played at the top level too.”
Conte’s immediate predecessor Jose Mourinho commanded respect by reputation and his ruthless nature - happy to publicly decry top players if they don’t perform - and Hazard was the victim of that several times as their relationship rocked and rolled.
But footballers are simple beings and if the man telling them to play a certain way did it all himself years ago and probably better than the majority of the players he is coaching, they will listen.
When a man who only played Portuguese second division starts preaching about players’ their limitations it can become hard to swallow and reputations for being a successful manager only carry so far with a brooding superstar footballer.
If the bloke telling you to shape up won more than you have out where it matters on the pitch then there really is no comeback.
Conte is the most decorated manager Abramovich has taken on since he dropped a major clanger giving Ancelotti the boot.
Sources at Stamford Bridge say he has been trying to shake off the hangover ever since.
Conte has got off to a 100 per cent start this season with four straight wins.
His first was a 2-1 Premier League victory over a tricky West Ham side with just one player different to the XI which drew 2-2 with Swansea at the same time last year.
Ancelotti won his first eight matches and went on to win the League and Cup double in his first season.
The remake of the Italian Job movie was nowhere near as good as the original but Conte may be just about to prove that sequels can be equals when it comes to football at least.