Before last weekend, English football was one drunken night away from falling completely in love with Antonio Conte, consummating those lustful glances thrown the Chelsea manager’s way all season in one evening of alcohol-fuelled passion.
No doubt, the Italian has given an exceptionally strong account of himself since turning up at Stamford Bridge last summer, joining an elite club of managers to win the Premier League title in their first season.
But a shock defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup final that caught virtually every pundit off-guard has waned the aura of invincibility surrounding Conte – and the 2-1 defeat at Wembley was by no means an anomaly.
Indeed, Conte’s return in cup competitions throughout his managerial career is surprisingly disappointing for a gaffer who has overseen two of the biggest clubs in Europe and is held in such high esteem throughout the game.
From twelve attempts, he’s yet to lift a domestic or continental trophy, whilst his win rate in cup competitions stands at just 58% – really not the kind of return you’d expect from a top manager.
His efforts in Europe are equally worrying, his best finish thus far being a Champions League quarter-final, especially considering the success Juventus have had in the competition under his successor Massimo Allegri, including reaching this season’s final.
Chelsea fans won’t be too concerned at the moment as Conte has already added to their trophy cabinet. But amid the most competitive era in Premier League history, winning the league title won’t be possible every season; and worryingly for Conte, history suggests he won’t be able to gloss over underwhelming top flight campaigns by obtaining silverware elsewhere. Eventually, that could prove to be his downfall.