The season is almost over and for Chelsea, all that is left to be played for is the FA Cup final against Manchester United. Interestingly, this game will be a huge for both clubs in their quest for silverware.
For Chelsea and Conte, it’s been a tumultuous campaign. The Italian has endured a frustrating second season at the club with fierce criticisms fired at him for the club’s woes this season.
Let’s have a review of 3 things Conte did both right and wrong this season:
3 THINGS HE DID RIGHT…
YOUTHS GOT THEIR CHANCE:
One fierce criticism constantly fired at Chelsea over the years was the failure of our successful academy producing first team players for the club. But this season has been quite different for the club. Conte got it right in this regard with many academy players getting a chance to play for the first team. Notable names like: Andreas Christensen, Ethan Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi, Kenedy and Charly Musonda had their chances. It’s a real positive for the club.
GOOD RUN IN CUP COMPETITIONS:
Another thing Conte did right this season was prioritizing every competition, most especially the League Cup and FA Cup. Chelsea’s run in both competitions are amazing. Reaching the League Cup semifinal was impressive and being in contention for the FA Cup trophy with the final against Manchester United to be played this weekend is positive.
KEEPING PLAYER POWER IN CHECK:
A two-word phrase that made the headlines after Jose Mourinho sack two seasons ago was ‘impalpable discord’. Conte has managed this aspect quite well. His quiet act of keeping players more focused on delivering good performances than getting involved in trivial issues was good. While many will not agree on this, but the truth is that the Italian stamped his authority for the players to realise he is the boss. His act of making big decisions may cost him his job but has proved him to be good at managing players with big egos and personalities. At least there have been no issues of discord between manager and the. players.
3 THINGS HE DID WRONG:
QUESTIONABLE TACTICAL SELECTIONS IN KEY GAMES:
One major contentious issue of Conte’s second season at the club is his questionable tactical decisions in key games. Notable scenarios are: the two defeats against Manchester City in which he deployed an ultra-defensive display that irked the fans, his team selection against Huddersfield in a key top four deciding game, his constant fielding of the hapless and confidence-drained Tiemuoe Bakayoko, the decision to sub Hazard against Manchester United at Old Trafford in a game we eventually lost 2-1 that further dented our title hopes, and we can go on and on. The Italian just didn’t show the passion and savvy needed to win most key games this season.
LACK OF IDEAS TO STOP CHELSEA’S SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON BAD FORM:
The reality of Chelsea’s Champions League qualification failure was down to our second half of the season bad form since the turn of the year. It’s quite unbelievable to imagine that we were second by the end of last year, but find ourselves outside the Champions League places at the end of the season. A poor run of form which saw the club win just over 4 games means that if the league had started by January then we might have been relegated by now. Conte’s lack of ideas to counter Chelsea’s bad form in the new year put a huge question mark on his managerial ability.
MEDIA WARPATH AGAINST THE CLUB BOARD:
If the Italian is as good enough, then one major blot in his managerial CV is his poor public relations. His discontent with the club’s transfer dealing and policies was also an issue he had at his former club, Juventus. But at Chelsea, he took it to another height; often throwing barbs and veiled criticisms at the club at almost every press conference he was engaged in. If only he had channeled that passion and energy into the job, just maybe the season would have turned out differently and even better than it ended.
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!