Antonio Conte speaks to the media about his plans for Chelsea
‘I WANTED TO BREATHE THE GRASS’
Antonio Conte says he swapped the Italy job for a return to club management because he missed the day-to-day involvement.
He said: “I decided to leave the national team after our qualification in the Euros. I wanted to go back to breathe the grass … day by day.
“I had a great opportunity to speak with Chelsea, a great club, and I’m very happy we found a fantastic solution.”
‘EMOTIONAL’ DAY FOR NEW HEAD COACH
I reckon Chelsea fans will have been impressed by Antonio Contetoday. He came across as charming, intelligent, passionate and very determined. Here are some of his closing remarks.
“I felt very emotional. Today is my first press conference. It feels incredible. I am very proud and worked very hard to get here.
“I hope we can surprise people, that there is a small flame flickering that can grow into a blazing inferno.
“There is a winning mentality that certain coaches have. I believe there are winners in football and not everyone has that.”
WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
The new Ghostbusters movie may be out soon but Antonio Contewill be turning elsewhere for assistance, to last year’s Premier League-winning manager in fact!
“In the future I will call Claudio Ranieri. He is a lovely man and I will ask him for a bit of advice.
“I feel responsibility for representing Italy abroad and our ways and customs as well.”
CONTE: CHELSEA BELONG IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Antonio Conte says he does not anticipate Chelsea being out of the Champions League for an extended period.
‘THE CLUB BOUGHT A GREAT PLAYER’
It sounds like Antonio Conte had some input into the Michy Batshuayi signing. He is certainly pleased to have the young Belgian striker on board!
“He is a young player but very strong with good technique,” said Conte.
“He uses two feet and has a great talent, I am very happy he is with us and the club bought a great player.”
‘THE COACH IS LIKE A TAILOR’
Antonio Conte has spoken about how he sees his role and he says he is not hung up about sticking to a certain formation.
“When I was in Italy I liked to say the coach is like a tailor, who must make the best dress for the team,” said the 46-year-old.
“Three at the back, four at the back. It’s not important. What’s important is the right spirit of the team and good organisation.
“It’s important to have players who are ready to fight, play good football and transfer our passion and emotion to the fans.”
CONTE: TERRY TO LEAD CHELSEA
He apologised for his English but I don’t know why, it was impressive!
‘CHELSEA BELONGS TO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE’
Antonio Conte says himself and the playing staff are determined to improve on last season’s disappointing Premier League showing.
He said: “We know that this year won’t be easy for us because if we think last season, the 10th position, last season was a bad season.
“We know – me, the players, the club. We must think to the present to work very hard every day, every week, every month to be something important for the fans, because the fans need to find a team ready to fight until the end – to compete with the other teams.
“There is only one team that will win the title but we must stay there, to fight for the title, for the Champions League. Chelsea belongs to the Champions League. We must stay there.”
‘I WAS BORN WITH PRESSURE’
Antonio Conte says pressure comes with the territory when you take charge of a club of Chelsea’s stature.
He said: “The pressure for me is not important because I was born with pressure. It is normal, because when you are a player or a manager of a great football club, like Chelsea, you must play to win.
“To win the title, to fight at the end to compete with the other teams to win the title, to reach your targets. I know that this league is very, very difficult because there are six, seven teams that can win the title and, for this reason, the situation, it excites me.”
CONTE PLEASED TO HAVE TERRY
Asked if he had been behind the decision to offer John Terry a new deal, Conte said: “John Terry is an important player, for me, for the club, for the fans, for all. He signed in May, but all decisions we take together, with me, the club.
“I’m very pleased John Terry signed a new deal with Chelsea, I spoke with him many times. For me it was one of the most important things that John, when he signed, he was very happy.”
TERRY STILL CAPTAIN
Antonio Conte has confirmed that John Terry will remain a key member of the playing staff at Chelsea.
Conte said: “John Terry signed a contract as a player, not a different role. He is the captain of this team.
“He is a great player, with a great personality, charisma. I like to speak to him, because I know he knows the club, the right spirit to play in this club. For me he is a very important player, like the others.
“All the players know that I’ll see the pitch during the training session to decide my starting XI. When a player deserves to play, with me he’ll play. “
Will Terry still be captain? “Yes, when he plays. He is the captain of Chelsea always.”
Asked if Chelsea could challenge for the title, Conte said: “This is the second day in training. It is fantastic to work in Cobham.
“In these two days, I saw players with the right attitude, with the right behaviour, with a great will to fight for this shirt. To fight to go back very soon for the best position, for the title. After these two days, I’m very glad to see these things. They’re very important.”
Conte: “I think this is the most difficult league in the world because there are six or seven teams who could win the title.”
Conte: “It’s a great pleasure to be here. I am very happy and this is a new chapter for my life. This is a fantastic country and a fantastic league.”
HERE HE IS!
The press pack leap to their feet, smart phones aloft, as Antonio Conte …. hangs around next to an open door. This man likes to make an entrance! He is in the room now though and is currently posing for photos.
WHAT ARE CHELSEA GETTING WITH CONTE?
Well, before Euro 2016 all the talk was about how Italy were fielding one of their weakest ever teams, particularly after their midfield was hit by injuries.
However, Antonio Conte was undeterred and his side delivered two of the best (and most tactically impressive) displays at the tournament, as they defeated Belgium and Spain, before losing on penalties to world champions Germany after a hard-fought quarter-final (pictured).
Gianluca Zambrotta knows Conte well and thinks the new Chelsea head coach is on a par with Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, who he will be going head-to-head with in the coming months.
“I think the three of them have similar personalities and are more or less at the same level,”Zambrotta told Sky Sports.
“Antonio Conte has a great football mind and he’s very dedicated. He’s very professional and is an excellent motivator.”
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