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Antonio Conte talks tactics, expectations, hard work, and passion as he impresses in first Chelsea press conference

Antonio Conte started work at Chelsea a day or two later than initially anticipated, and he started his first press conference at Chelsea a minute or two later than initially anticipated, but, as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait.  And we didn't have to wait very long at all before he walked through the doors and took his place behind the microphones for the very first time.

He spoke humbly, clearly, concisely throughout.  He wasn't afraid to smile, but his passion and clarity of intent was clear.  He spoke in English — his handle on the language is tremendously good for someone who supposedly was having intensively lessons some months back and is continuing to learn ("my preparation about this language is important") — and he talked about plans, desires, and methods.  He did not anoint himself with a name, leaving that up to the media to decide ("I hope to be a good name, not a bad name"), but he's hoping to do his name, his country, and Chelsea proud.  About the only topic he skirted around was the topic of transfers.

Here are some of his best and most important answers, as transcribed by Get West London (emphasis mine).

Initial impressions

It's our second day in training at Cobham. It's fantastic to work there. In those two days I saw players with the right attitude and a great will to fight for this shirt and to fight to get back to competing to win the title very soon. I'm very glad to see these things and it's very very important.


The most important message [to the players] is that I'm a worker and I like to work and I know only this road to win and to go back to play the Champions League, to winning the title. I only know work, work and work. I'm very happy because I found the right attitude in Cobham and I'm very happy with this.


It's important that you have players that give you great attitude. I'm very happy about this as I know to have players ready to fight and to play good football and to transfer our passion, our emotion and our fans. This is the most important thing. Win or lose, but if we can transfer our passion and our football to the fans it'll be a victory for me, the players and the club.

Tactical plans

I search to find the right position for the players. The manager or coach is like a tailor. You must be a dress and the best dress for the team and you have to respect the characteristics and the talents of the players. In the past, I started with one idea of football and then I changed it as I saw these players didn't suit it. It's not important for us. It's very important if we want to go back and compete for the title and to give good organisation to give good training in tactics and in the physical aspect. I feel I can improve my players. It's important that there must be a great spirit and I'm sure we can improve through the work.

John Terry's role

John Terry signed a contract as a player, not as a different role. He's our captain. He's a great player with a great personality and great charisma. I'd like to speak with him as he knows the club, the right spirit to play here. For me, he's an important player. All the players know that I'll see on the pitch to choose my starting XI. When a player deserves to play, he'll play. He'll be captain. He's John Terry - he's the captain. When he plays he's captain. He's captain on and off the pitch.

Pressure and expectations

The pressure for me is not important. I was born with pressure and the pressure is not important for me. It's normal as when you are a player or manager of a great club. You must play to win, to win the title or to fight at the end and compete against other teams to reach your targets. I know this league is very difficult because there are six or seven teams that can win the title and, for this reason, this situation is very exciting for me. We know that this year won't be easy for us because if we think of last season, the 10th position, it was a bad season. We all know it. We must think about the present, to work very hard every day, week month to win something for the club and for the fans. The fans need to find a team ready to fight until the end and to compete with the other teams. I know only one team wins the title but we must be fighting at the end of the season. Chelsea belongs in the Champions League and we must stay there.

Light our fires

I felt emotional about coming to Chelsea today. I'm very proud and know I've worked very hard to get here as well. The league will be tough and I hope the Premier League title winners deserve to have taken the title. I hope we're underrated - I hope we're in there and can surprise people and can motivate us further. I hope there's a small flame that can become a blazing inferno.

Let's get to work!

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