clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Conte: Costa is the past, Morata is the present ... and the future

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

For all intents and purposes, the Diego Costa era ended many months ago, perhaps as early as in January when, as Conte claims, the decision to move on without him for next season was made (and communicated to Diego). Whatever came after was great drama, both on the pitch as Chelsea clinched a second title in three seasons thanks in large part to Costa’s goals, and then off the pitch as Costa’s situation threatened to devolve into complete embarrassment. But with the transfer agreed this week, the Costa era has drawn to a symbolic close as well.

Conte was already tired of talking about Costa well before this week, but he mustered up the energy to send him on his way with a few words before focusing the attention back on what truly matters: the here and the now, and then the future.

“I'm not interested to talk about the past. I think the past is not important. For every player, for every single player, the past stays there. If you did well in the past, okay.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Telegraph

To say that Costa did well, would be putting it mildly. In many ways, he was the perfect manifestation of the club’s personality (certainly as cultivated by Mourinho over the many years of his two reigns), snarling, brawling, clawing his way to goals, wins, and trophies. In all the good and bad and wonderful and controversial ways, Costa was always high emotion. On good days, he was a force of nature. On bad days ... well, let’s not dwell on the bad days.

“I like to ask for a type of work from my striker. For me, the number 9 position is very important because he is a point of reference for the play. Last season, Diego Costa played well and this season, we have changed the striker and we have Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi and another option is Eden Hazard, who last season played like a number 9 twice, but I ask specific work from my striker.

“Every single player was very important last season. We won the league and it is was a big surprise and also reached the final of the FA Cup, so for this reason every single player performed in a fantastic way last season and I want to thank every player who played.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

Costa is now the past. The present belongs to someone else. The present belongs to Álvaro Morata.

“I like him because he’s a complete player and also he has a lot of room to improve in every situation, tactical, physical, technical aspect, he’s very committed, his behaviour is always fantastic. He is a very polite player, I like this, also I like that he’s a good finisher, he ‘feels’ the goal in every moment, he’s very good and understanding which is the best position in the box to receive the ball, to understand where the ball is going.”

Morata is the anti-Costa. On and off the pitch. And there’s certainly a feeling that’s how Conte wants it. But just a bit more aggression wouldn’t go amiss, right? There is, as usual, always room for improvement after all ... even if you’re already a “complete player”.

“This is a process for him, when I speak about a lot of room for improvement it also means this aspect, to be [aggressive].

“I think for Álvaro it’s the right moment to have this situation, to be the striker in a great team and don’t forget with previous experiences with Juventus and Real Madrid he played but not every game, not regularly, for this reason he is at the right age to have this responsibility. He is a good player, he is a complete player, technically strong, a good leader, he has a lot of room for improvement. Morata is 24 years old which means you have possibility to work with this player for 10 years.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Telegraph

So say we all.