Most of these quotes should sound familiar to you, as they fall in line with some of the newer themes in Conte’s press-conference repertoire this season. Even though he only signed a new contract at better terms rather than longer terms in the summer — he did move his family to London on the other hand — Conte has been advocating a bit more long-term thinking at the club, reminding that not only is it unreasonable to expect to win the league each year, but even more so, to expect to win it consistently with a squad still going through transition.
“We are trying to build something important. Now we are trying to put [in] fundamentals for this club. Don’t forget that in the last four, five years we lost a lot of important players ... players that wrote history in this club.
“If we think, ‘I can click my fingers and we are ready to fight’, it’s not simple. Last season happened – a miracle. It was a miracle because we had the same players who the season before finished tenth.”
Last year’s title certainly may have set lofty expectations, but some of the performances this season would’ve been simply unthinkable last season, certainly after the introduction of the 3-4-3 system. That system, like Chelsea themselves, is no longer as effective by default as it was, as other teams have learned how to combat it, but expecting to find a “new” solution just as effective as it proved last season is also something that should not be expected — after all, not even Conte himself predicted how well that formation shift would work.
A summer filled with uncertainties over transfers, control, and perhaps even Conte himself hasn’t helped the atmosphere behind the scenes and around the ground. While it’s a far cry from Mourinho’s shenanigans of 2015-16, Conte’s not entirely inculpable in creating the situation we find ourselves in.
“I think the most important thing is to try always to tell the truth ... I’m a person who always prefers to tell a bad truth than a good lie. In this way, I have the respect of the people.
“We are trying to build something ... it’s important to have patience and then to have the time to do this. I understand it’s not for all to have patience, but patience is a big quality. I have not a lot of patience, honestly. But after last season ... I’m improving a lot.”
Patience is a funny word at Chelsea and probably something to be laughed at along the lines of “entertaining over winning” football. Abramovich showed more patience with Mourinho than with any other coach before and yet did not reap any actual rewards for it. What incentive would he have thus to change his previous m.o.?
Conte undoubtedly knows this. He himself isn’t exactly known for staying in one place for too long either, not even his beloved Juventus, whom he ditched after three seasons in 2014. It’s unlikely he would better that at Chelsea, though as long as we keep winning, there’s always a chance. Winning makes everything better.
“Honestly, I think I earned my time here with the win of last season. I earned my time. I don’t like to ask for time. I like to tell the truth.
“It’s not simple to repeat and win. Above all here, in this league. It’s not simple. You have to consider the real situation that we are in now.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Telegraph
The real situation is this. If Chelsea don’t win today, the pressure will continue to mount and we might even have some substance adding to all the rumor nonsense floating about. If Chelsea do win, we rinse and repeat this same process a few games, a few weeks, a few months down the line. It’s what we do. It’s what everybody does, but we do tend to it particularly well and particularly famously.
That’s not to say there isn’t long-term thinking at the club. Just that the head coach isn’t exactly an integral part of it.