Antonio Conte was finally unveiled by Chelsea as their new boss and the Italian didn’t shy away from questions during his first press-conference as the new Chelsea manager.
Conte took all sorts of questions from the media, but the highlight of his first presser has been his comments about John Terry’s future.
It’s party time for Chelsea fans, as Conte confirmed that John Terry will continue as captain this season.
Conte also added that Terry’s role hasn’t been changed and that the former England captain will continue as a player, “John Terry signed a contract as a player”.
Conte added “John Terry is the captain of Chelsea when he plays and when he does not play”, the Chelsea captain was offered a dramatic contract extension, after months of speculation regarding his future.
The 34-year old showed tremendous loyalty, as he took a massive pay-cut and a reduced squad-role to stay at the club, while it was reported that he was offered bumper contracts from China, which he rejected.
“He’s a player with great personality and great charisma. I like to speak with him because I know that he knows the club – he has the right spirit to play in the club.
“For me, he is an important player like the other players.” Conte went on to say.
Another hyped question doing rounds was the formation that Conte would use at Chelsea, with rumors suggesting that the former Juventus boss would prefer his trusted 3-4-3/3-5-2.
Conte speaking on formation, tactics and spirit… https://t.co/SOXkqRSX5C
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 14, 2016
But the Italian was quick to rubbish the rumors saying that he had’t decided anything yet, he said “When I was in Italy I liked to say the coach is like a tailor, who must make the best dress for the tea,” he said.
“Three at the back, four at the back, it’s not important for us. It is important that the spirit of the team is right – to the compete for the title – and that there is good organisation.”
Conte also stressed that it was very important that the club got back in the Champions League quickly, stating that Chelsea belong in Europe’s elite club competition.
There was a quick photocall for Antonio Conte after his press conference earlier today… https://t.co/5tR2VzJnUc
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 14, 2016
From last season we can learn a lot,’ said Conte. ‘It is not easy but you can restart and find a new way.
‘It is very strange to win the title and then, only one year later, you are out of the Europa League and out of the Champions League. The club don’t like this. Nor do the players because history says in the Abramovich era Chelsea are always in the Champions League.
‘It is important to get back very soon, to fight for the title, to be there at the end of the season. It is important to be back in the Champions League. Chelsea is a great club and a great club must play in the Champions League.’
Conte also spoke about Chelsea’s title chances, adding that he was aware about the club’s lack of action in the transfer market.
‘Some might think Chelsea are not favorites for the title and I think they can be right after last season,’ said Conte. ‘Also, you can see that we have signed only Batshuayi.
‘But we are ready. We are talking within the club and we know the team needs to reinforce. In the coming days we can buy one, two, three, I don’t know how many players.
‘We can reach our target to reinforce the team and go closer to the teams that seem to be higher in the table than Chelsea.
‘It is not easy because there are teams with a lot of money to invest in the market. I know this year won’t be easy.
‘The Premier League is very competitive. We are under-rated and we might slip under the radar but I hope there is a small flame flickering here that can hopefully grow into a blazing inferno.’
Conte got in touch with Carlo Ancelotti on Wednesday talking to him in great lengths about Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich, he also said that he plans to call Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri to congratulate him and ask about Roman’s demands from a Chelsea manager.
‘I am not afraid if the club sack me,’ said Conte. As for pressure, he said: ‘I was born with pressure, it’s the norm.’
‘The manager is like a tailor, who must make the best dress for the team,’ said Conte. ‘You have to respect the characteristics of the players. Three-at-the-back or four-at-the-back is not important.’
Conte said that he was a workaholic, and that he required the same from his players, ‘I am a worker,’ said Conte. ‘I know only this road to win. I know only this verb: work, work, work.
‘The players are ready to work and fight. They know last season was very, very bad. Not bad; very, very bad. Every single player knows this and wants to change the story. They want to remove the past.
‘After a bad season there is a bit of sadness in all the people who work for this club and also in the fans.
‘For us the most important thing is to concentrate in the present, to work and to build a great future. To work with passion and enthusiasm and transfer this to our fans.
‘If we remain in the past it is not good for us.’
‘There are certain managers who are winners, on that I would agree with you,’ said Conte. ‘Some coaches have a winning mentality besides their working methods and philosophies.
‘There are winners in football, but not everyone has that in them. Those who do are indeed special.’