When Jose Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December of 2015, rumours were abound for months over who would succeed the divisive manager.
Guus Hiddink came in as interim for the rest of the season, but was largely uninspiring. By the New Year, it became inevitable that Chelsea would have to look elsewhere in search for their 9th full time manager since Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.
That search came to an end in April of 2016, with Antonio Conte announced as the man to succeed Hiddink on a permanent basis.
A successful ex-player in his own right, Conte found success with Juventus as a manager, before joining the Italian national team as Head Coach in 2014.
During his managerial career, Conte has built up quite the reputation for both his managing style and tactical choices, making some interesting decisions along the way.
With that said, let’s take a look at FIVE things that Chelsea fans can expect next season based on what we learnt during his time at Juventus and with the Italian national team…
A big part of his success at Juventus came from the slick organisation of his team, and this organisation always began at the back.
Whilst typically managers enlist a standard system with four at the back, Conte chose to employ wing-backs in Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah, whilst enlisting three centre backs in his defence.
The results for this were outstanding, with Juventus quickly becoming one of the strongest sides defensively in world football, culminating in a 49 game unbeaten streak between May 2011 and October 2012
With success like that, theres no doubting that Conte will give the system a go with the Blues
Whilst Conte typically builds his teams from the back, he certainly isn’t afraid to experiment at the other end of the pitch.
Whilst most managers stick with one striker surrounded by three attacking midfielders, Conte instead often looks back to the mid 2000s, enlisting two centre forwards.
When defending, this becomes a 5-3-2 formation, but when attacking this quickly shifts into a 4-2-4, with deadly forwards flanked by fast paced wing-backs.
A system that is largely unused in England, this could prove to be a refreshing and successful tactic if used by Conte, especially with Diego Costa, and perhaps a new star striker, at his disposal.
As soon as Conte was announced as Mourinho’s full time successor, the British press was quick to draw parallels between the two men.
In particular, media outlets made a point of highlighting the pair’s similarities in managing style, whilst also discussing how they came across in the press.
As mentioned, Conte often employs a defensive based system, using five defenders and only breaking forward when they get the chance. He also has a largely isolationist mentality, often using the ‘us against them’ tactic that Chelsea saw so frequently under Mourinho.
Unfortunately, however, this is not where the similarities with Mourinho end.
Another trait that Conte largely shares with Mourinho is that his jobs are typically on a short-term basis. Much like Mourinho, his managing style works for a few years, bringing immediate success – but this is then largely followed by an unhappy conclusion.
This might be something that Chelsea fans would be unhappy to hear, given that many want a period of stability following the sacking of Mourinho.
It is important to recognise, however, that Conte is still a relatively young manager; with Juventus and the Italian national team serving as his only two mainstream roles since he landed in management.
Chelsea could be just the team he needs to create that dynasty that so many fans crave.
For all of Mourinho’s negative traits, however, fortunately Conte shares his most valued characteristic; he is a serial winner.
As a player, in a 13 year Juventus career he picked up five Serie A titles, alongside five European Cups – a record that any player would be proud of.
This success continued into management, winning three Serie A titles as manager of the Old Lady.
On a personal level, he also won the 2013 Manager of the Year award, solidifying his position as one of Europe’s top coaches.
There is no doubting the ability of the 46-year-old, and going by his previous accomplishments, success at Chelsea seems inevitable.