For Antonio Conte, the issue of player happiness is outside the remit of the head coach. It must come from within, from the challenge of playing for Chelsea and from winning things. This has been a consistent message from the Chelsea head coach, which we’ve touched on at least twice in the last year — back in February (“We are in his great competition to try to win, not just to find a solution to make someone happy”) and at the end of the season as well (“I’d like to underline a concept about the need to keep players happy. We must win”).
With the likes of David Luiz and Willian subject of recent exit rumors — though the latter has denied them repeatedly — the question of player happiness has been brought up once again. Conte’s answer is consistent with his previous stance.
“I don’t like to be asked if one player is not happy, or if I have to find something to make him happy. Every player must be very happy not to play for Chelsea, but to be in the Chelsea squad.
“It means you stay in a big team, a great team. Then, it’s normal when you are in a great team there is a lot of competition. The coach can only decide for 11 players. We must be happy because we are living this atmosphere, we are doing a fantastic job, and we earn a lot of money.
“I think we must be very, very, very happy, whether we play or don’t play. Every player wants to play, this is normal, but we must be very happy to have this job, to have this life: me and my family, and the same for the players and their families.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
As ever, the message is team first. Conte isn’t here to make you happy; he’s here to challenge you, to make you better — “the coach is an educator” — to help you win. Ask not what Chelsea can do for you; ask what you can do for Chelsea.