Antonio Conte’s favorite word is ‘work’. Whether on day one or on day three-hundred and twenty-one, the name of the game is work work work. Lose to Arsenal? Work. Beat Spurs? Work. Win the league? More work. Next season? Even more work. The work never stops and it doesn’t ever get easier.
“We had a path, a very difficult path, this season so it’s important to enjoy the win with the players, the club and the fans. We worked very hard. But relax? No. I don’t like this. I want people who stay, every day, concentrated and preparing for a new win.”
“We must have a winning mentality. If you have that, you want to continue to win every season. It’s not easy because, above all in England there are many teams who want to do the same things. But we have to continue to work very hard, maybe stronger than this season, to try to repeat a good season.”
This relentless pursuit of the next win is not necessarily a unique quality, but Conte embodies it more than any other coach in Chelsea’s modern history. He’s gotten the squad to buy in spectacularly this season; now he faces the challenge of keeping it going. We’ve been here before, two years ago, when a brief summer vacation undid what was supposed to be a Mourinho Dynasty. One imagines Conte will not stand for any such nonsense.
There is (or at least used to be) a banner at Stamford Bridge that read “Making history not reliving it”. In a sea of teams obsessed with their history, it’s the perfect mission statement for Chelsea, and one that we’ve delivered on consistently over the past two decades (that’s right, even before Abramovich). If that banner is no longer there, maybe we can make a new one with Conte’s words.
“If there is someone who is happy to focus on his past, then he’s not a winner. He’s a loser. The past is good. The past is beautiful if you won. You can always see your past. But, in the present and the future, what you achieved in the past is not important if you are a winner. If you are a loser then you always stay looking behind you and you won’t win.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Guardian
So say we all.