What’s that you say? Courtois isn’t captain?
But as the only player who dared to show his face on camera after yesterday’s debacle, he gets the honorary title. (Sign the contract, Thibaut!)
And while Courtois said a few silly things, namely about the penalty call and the sending off, what is undeniable that he also said all the right things about moving on from Monday and onto something better.
Crucially, he (and “everyone” in the squad) want to do so with Conte still at the helm.
“We had some good games, a lot of draws and two losses and we have to find our form from before the new year again, and hopefully it will get better.
“We believe in [Conte] and we believe in our team. We have two bad results and we just try to get back, regroup and just continue. We showed that we wanted to fight even with 10 men and that shows we have character, but when you lose twice like that it is not good and there are questions raised, but we go back to training with the manager, and training well and turn this situation around.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the two results we have had in the last week, obviously it is not good but we have to regroup in training, have heads high and continue the hard work and just continue what we were doing. We have now two bad losses but we are a team with the manager, and everyone is positive about that, and we will try to do our best to win next week.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: Chelsea FC
When Conte was quizzed about the atmosphere in the dressing room, he maintained a similarly positive note, talking down the notion of a player revolt and praising the continued commitment of his players.
“Do you think a club can decide to sack a coach if there is not the support of the players? Only here you think this. You think the players have this power? This is wrong.
“When I was a player, I was captain of Juventus, I never, never spoke about a coach with my club. And if the club asked me, this is not my problem.
“I repeat: my task is to work with these players. I have honest players who show me every day great commitment and great behaviour. The question is for you to find something wrong or create a problem with the club, and then the players. I do my job; I do my work. If this is enough, it’s okay, otherwise I go home and I have zero problem to sleep well.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Then again, does it really matter what anyone says at this point? The narrative is set, now we just wait for the wheels of time to slowly (or quickly, as it were) grind along that path.
Conte brought an unlikely title to the place last season. He deserves a chance to fix this situation. “The winner finds a solution. The loser finds excuses.”