We've been basking in the glow of Chelsea's 5-0 demolition of Everton for the past two weeks of the international break, but there's only so much praise a person can take before it starts becoming a bit too much. It's almost inevitable for a downturn to follow after so much hype, and while there's always a chance that Chelsea basically go undefeated the rest of the season without ever conceding another goal, it's much more likely that our resolve will be tested by a few bad results, bad decisions, and bad moments.
Antonio Conte, being the experienced football man that he is, knows this and has been working diligently with the squad to try to avoid them as much as humanly possible.
"We have been working over these days to avoid this and to find the right concentration and focus. On Sunday we know we'll have a tough game against a strong team who drew with Arsenal and Manchester City. But I must be honest: there is this possibility, that our momentum might be stopped, so that's why we've been working very hard to avoid this."
"It would be normal that the focus, the concentration, would be a bit lower in this situation, so we have to keep them high. I'm worried. I'm worried about keeping this level of concentration, that high intensity and right spirit. That's why we have worked so hard in training. When you win four or five in a row, that's what you have to think about."
We've spent much of the season so far talking about working hard to improve, to change the culture, and to flip the narrative from last season. Now that we have, we have to continue working hard to maintain momentum. Regardless of what happens in the future, we'll have to continue working hard to do whatever's necessary next. It's a bit of a theme, working hard, with Conte, though he's also starting talking a bit more positively in terms of the big picture.
"When you win a game during the championship, you win a battle. One battle. When you win a trophy, you win the war. I like this."
"I love to win the war. To win the war it's important also to win the battles during the championship. One's a consequence of the other. But, for sure, we know that this championship is very difficult because there are a lot of good teams. And, I repeat, we are working very hard to fight with this team until the end."
"I see a chance to build something important with Chelsea here [and implement] a new method and philosophy. These are the most important things. Then it's logical, when you play this championship, that you want to fight until the end to win the title or for a place in the Champions League. But for me now it's important to work with the players, to continue to build something of importance for Chelsea for the present and the future."
-Antonio Conte; source: Guardian
Things can change rather quickly in football. Two months ago, we were starting to worry about Conte's future. Now, we're looking forward to the dynasty. Chelsea have won five in a row, but could conceivably lose the next five in a row. But when things are going this well, it's hard not to get a bit carried away. What Conte's doing now is working tremendously well; buying into that for a long-term future sounds wonderful.