Antonio Conte held a slightly more conventional press conference yesterday than the one for which he gathered around a few select journalists the day before, and this time he also wasn’t too concerned with Spurs. What he was concerned with however was Bayern Munich, specifically how their squad compares to Chelsea.
“Against Bayern, we played against a very strong team and don’t forget they had (David) Alaba and (Juan) Bernat on the bench and seven players at home. This is the reality.”
“Bayern Munich are ready to fight to win the Champions League. For them it is easier because they have a good structure with a good base of 17 or 18 players. Then you pay £80m for one player or £90m for two players and your transfer market is finished. When you rebuild you need to buy players to create the solid foundation and then find one or two strong players to improve your quality in an important way.”
As Conte has mentioned several times, Chelsea’s base is more like 13 players right now, and the only signing we’ve made this summer who adds to that is Antonio Rüdiger. Alvaro Morata is a direct replacement for Diego Costa and Tiemoué Bakayoko is the same for Nemanja Matić. Chelsea getting younger at those key positions is good and is part of the ongoing rebuild process, but we need to improve in terms of numbers, too. Even if we count youngsters like Andreas Christensen or Charly Musonda, we’re still several players short of a “good base of 17 or 18”. So that’s what we have to strive towards.
But that won’t be an easy or a quick process, so expectations need to be adjusted accordingly.
“I am excited to play in the Champions League with Chelsea. I know we have a lot of road ahead before we can compete to try to win the Champions League.”
“We are trying to rebuild and it’s not easy. You need time to create a structure and to build every season and then to go to fight.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Mail
That fact that Conte is talking about a multi-year process should give us hope for a long and prosperous future together with him. Of course, doing all that while also operating under the non-Spursian pressures of what the job of being the Chelsea head coach entails is not easy or straightforward either. But there seems to be a plan and the Board and the owner look to be playing along as evidenced by the signings we’ve made both for the playing staff and the coaching staff as well.
Conte performed a fantastic magic trick last season to recover the team from the 10th place finish and then the back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal. But that’s not a sustainable model for winning especially as others are constantly changing and improving as well. Fortunately, despite a few anxious weeks, Chelsea seem well aware of the mistakes of 2015 and 2010 and are keen to not repeat them. That by itself doesn’t guarantee success, but we’re at least on the right path.