Other than the 90 minutes spent running, jumping, pacing, and shouting on the touchline, Antonio Conte was in quite a happy mood on Saturday. With Chelsea miles clear at the top of the table at Christmas, he's got every right to be of course. The players have bought fully into his system, are executing it more than well enough, and are still improving despite the already impressive wins that we've notched on our belts.
It was all topped off with his reaction to Garry Hayes's question whether Chelsea's great results so far make him the Giorgio Armani of football coaches. While it appears that Conte thinks of himself as a bit more hip than Armani (he specifically mentions Dolce & Gabbana), he clearly thinks the question is just hilarious. And so he laughs and then you laugh and an angel gets its wings.
Check the table & you know Conte's good. Check the pitch & you know he's astute.Check the vid & you know why players want to make him happy.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) December 17, 2016
One of Conte's trademark sayings since arriving in the summer has been that the head coach has to be like a tailor for a football team, figuring out a system that's uniquely suited to the characteristics and measurements of the squad. And when something turns out to not be a perfect fit, the coach also has to be willing to go back, rip it all up, and start again, which is exactly what happened six games into the season, when Conte threw away the 4-2-4 and developed the 3-4-3.
For now, things are working as their bespoke best..