Thanks to all the unsubstantiated rumors out of Italy this past week, one of the main topics covered in Antonio Conte’s press conference on Friday was his happiness and future at Chelsea football club. Unsurprisingly, Conte didn’t reveal that he’s about to pack his stuff and go back to Italy. Quite the opposite in fact.
“This is my first season away, in a new country, with a new language and new habits, and it's totally different from my past. For sure, to arrive here is not easy. It's not easy when you start a season and you try a different situation. But I'm enjoying my time at Chelsea with my players. After seven months of the season, it's really good what I see compared to the start.”
“I started at Chelsea just two days after finishing the Euros with Italy, and to arrive at a club, with new players, a new club, to bring your ideas and to change something in the habits of my players, it's not easy.”
“I'm very happy with my experiences so far with Chelsea. To have this relationship with the club, with my players. I'm sure we can improve a lot in the future.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
Another situation that is sure to improve is Conte’s life away from the football ground (if such a thing even exists), with the rest of his family set to join him in the summer. He’s talked about this before, how it’s a weird situation to be living alone and so far away from his wife and daughter, but next season, they’ll get to experience London and Chelsea together.
“In my mind, there is the will to find different experiences in different countries. I think it's fantastic to find these experiences. When I was a footballer, I played only for two teams: Lecce and Juventus. But, honestly, in my career I wanted to go and play in different countries.”
“Now I am having this great experience in England, in an amazing league. For me, this is great. And I hope to live this experience with my family next season.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Independent
How long will this perfect relationship between head coach, players, and club last? Only time will tell. Conte’s certainly realistic enough about the harshness of life as a football manager in modern times — “I thank you for your optimism,” he replied to a question about whether he can go 10-15 years at the club — and he isn’t getting carried away beyond just the present and the immediate future. But he’s talked recently about building something great at Chelsea, and hopefully all that will indeed come to pass.