Connect in the back of the net

Charles’ latest “The Mind of Conte” column.

Looking at Chelsea’s form over the past few games, outstanding comes short of describing how impressive the blues have been.

Six games, seventeen goals scored and zero goal conceded. This spell was made possible by Antonio Conte’s stellar management of the team.

 

Leadership

Conte has displayed great leadership.

He has come into his new role with a humble attitude, taking time to evaluate and understand his players.

Yet, when things didn’t seem to go in the right direction, following the Arsenal defeat, he was strong enough to make tough decisions, establish a new formation and select the players best suited to make this formation work.

He did this with no consideration of player status or history.

Under Conte, Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso, Pedro, have become undisputed starters ahead of established players such as Ivanovic, Oscar, Willian.

Conte also transmits his passion and aggression from the touchlines directly to his players on the pitch.

His non-stop action throughout the match keeps a certain pressure and conveys intensity for his players to maintain.

 

Man management

I for one am not certain that Mourinho had indeed lost the dressing room as widely reported last season; however, what can’t be questioned is that by the end of his second Chelsea spell, he was no longer able to get the best out of his players.

Antonio Conte has had quite the opposite effect on his squad. He has been able to maximize his players’ strengths and mask individual shortcomings by building a stronger collective unit.

Conte’s man management has been stellar with players like Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Victor Moses, David Luiz, just to name a few.

A player such as Costa who seemed destined to be out of Stamford Bridge in the summer now looks fully committed to Chelsea’s cause.

He seems to have managed to get the Spaniard to channel his aggression and passion into the right areas and actions on the pitch.

It is no coincidence that he is currently the top scorer in the league.

 

Problem solving and decision making

Following the Liverpool and Arsenal defeats, Antonio Conte had a clear problem to solve.

Defensive frailties were preventing his team from competing with title challengers. The Italian tactician admitted he needed to find a solution to stop his team conceding goals, and that he did.

His switch from the 4-3-3 to the 3-4-3 formation has allowed the wing-backs to protect the flanks, while the three center backs along with two central midfielders deny space through the middle.

The newly found defensive solidity in turn provides freedom for the three attackers to harass the opposition high up the pitch and focus on scoring goals.

The EPL season still has ways to go, and final judgment shall be reserved until later, but Antonio  Conte has thus far displayed textbook managerial excellence.

He is getting the best out of his resources and getting them to put their individual talent at the service of the group.

The EPL is graced with the very best managers in the world in Pep Guardiola, Jose, Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, just to name a few; Antonio Conte however has been the best of the bunch.

Long may it continue.

 

Written by Charles Codo

Follow Charles on Twitter @soccerCrave

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