Antonio Conte & Chelsea
The biggest story in the English press on Wednesday surrounds Antonio Conte and Chelsea.
Conte is now on the brink of losing his job, according to widespread reports.
The Times have looked to pin down where the relationship between the Italian and the Blues broke down.
It’s believed that since Chelsea won the Premier League title at West Brom last season, Conte has committed six crucial mistakes.
Conte’s six big mistakes at Chelsea
The first, and perhaps the biggest issue, has been Conte’s attitude to recruitment at Stamford Bridge.
As has been well-documented, Conte has been at odds with his board over new signings since last summer.
Conte made his position known after the West Brom game:
Conte made the first and arguably biggest mistake in May, when, like many successful leaders before him, he overplayed his hand.
Drunk on success rather than West Brom’s champagne, the Italian is understood to have demanded greater control over transfer policy as a reward for winning the title, a request that went down badly with the club’s power brokers, the director Marina Granovskaia and the then sporting director Michael Emenalo.
That spilled over into Conte’s second big mistake: over-texting.
Painting the Italian out to be a hugely annoying character, the Times note how Conte bugged the likes of Granovskaia and Emenalo in the off-season.
(He bombarded) them with text messages from his summer holiday demanding specific players and insisting deals be completed in time for pre-season.
Conte’s third mistake, related to text messaging, came with his handling of the Diego Costa situation:
Conte’s fateful text message to Costa at the start of June, in which he said, “you are not in my plan”, was another catastrophic error of judgment.
The fourth big mistake came over Conte’s Chelsea renewal last summer.
On the back of winning the Premier League, many expected Conte to extend his commitment to staying at Stamford Bridge.
But that’s not what happened. Instead Chelsea handed Conte a new deal which increased his wages but didn’t extend his stay in west London:
Rather than resolve a long-running source of tension — Conte had complained about being underpaid throughout the title-winning season — compromising on a new two-year deal merely emphasised his lack of commitment to the club.
Daniele Conte & Chelsea training
The final two mistakes made by Conte relates to his brother, Daniele, and training.
On his sibling, the Times alleged that Conte has wanted Chelsea to work with his brother on new signings:
There has been some unease expressed at Conte’s apparent desire to involve his brother, Daniele, in transfer business when Chelsea have their own trusted network of contacts and agents.
Conte’s sixth and final mistake has been related to Chelsea’s training. Players at Stamford Bridge seem unhappy with the Italian’s methods at Cobham:
Players feel he was slow to adjust last season’s training schedule to this year’s more congested fixture list.