Following his diplomatic comments in the broadcast portion of his pre-match press conference, in the cameras-off portion, Antonio Conte doubled-down on his assertion that not only is he happy to be at Chelsea and do the work that’s necessary to keep the club competitive at the very top end of the professional game, but that he’s precisely the coach Chelsea need in order to do that. After all, he’s a “specialist”, and not in failure. Failure is not an option; we know this.
“People who know me very well know that I don’t stop. I try every day, through hard work, to overcome difficulties. It’s not for all. I’m a specialist in this kind of situation.”
“Everyone knows that I live this job with great passion and great love. For this reason it happens that I don’t sleep, especially when you have to face difficult situations and you want to try to do the best for the team, the players, the fans, the club.
“So, when I don’t sleep I continue to work with a computer, all night. I don’t want to create a problem for my wife, so I go in another room, the living room, and sometimes I start to work, watch a game or find a new solution. To watch a game many times is important so you can understand the positives and negatives and improve your team, especially when you lose. It’s very important to find the reason you lost.”
This season has brought a few more sleepless nights than last, but the work never stops. We can debate every facet of Conte’s management, from his handling of the squad, through his tactics, to his in-game changes as much as we want — the one constant is that the hard work never ends. Not for him, and, if he has his way, not for the players or the club themselves. It’s a style that requires tremendous dedication and full-on commitment (which is why he places so much emphasis on the latter in just about every post-match press conference).
But while Conte thinks of himself as a specialist in finding solutions in non-ideal circumstances (which, it should be noted, clearly does not rule out vocalizing said non-ideal circumstances when asked about them), he doesn’t think it merits him any special treatment.
“I can tell you that I continue to work very hard for this club, for the players, for our fans. I saw a bit of the history of this club in the past and it was the same also for the other coaches. I don’t see difference between me and the other coaches that managed this situation.
“My only worry is to work, to work very hard. For sure if you look at the stats you can see in 14 years that 10 managers were sacked in this club. But at the same time when you are sure about your work, when you are sure you are doing everything to improve this club, then I‘m very, very relaxed, very calm. I don’t have these type of worries.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Independent
If history is any guide, Conte and Chelsea will go their separate ways, sooner rather than later. Conte has insisted this week that won’t happen in the summer, not if he has any say about it. Of course, it’s not his call, just like transfer decisions aren’t his call.
For all involved, it comes down to expectation management, and cooler heads prevailing.
“When you start the season everyone has to try to dream. Also if you are not ready to ... it is right to dream, but then there is the reality and you have to fight sometimes to overcome the reality like last season and to do something special, but for sure it is not simple, not easy.
”I think that there are different times for every team to understand if you can go to fight for everything or go to work very hard. [You have] to dream but at the same time to be ready to fight for a place in Champions League or fight to try to reach a semifinal or a final. There are different times.”
-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN
Dream a little dream. Then get back to reality and on with the work.