Conte will leave the Azzurri after his contract expires after Euro 2016 and take over from Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge.
Is he the right man for the job? We asked our Italian friends to give us the inside track
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Will Conte be a success at Chelsea?

He’s a winner and a great worker so he will direct all his efforts to winning trophies in the Premier League. It will be interesting to see what happens, because the Premier League next year should be very competitive with Manchester City, United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and a lot of teams who have ambition and a lot of money to spend. Conte has demonstrated with Juventus that apart from in the Champions League he can do great things. So I think in his mind the objective is definitely to win the Premier League.

Is it the kind of project that will suit him?

Yes. Conte wants to return to club management: in December he said that his worst moment of 2015 was watching the big Champions League games from the stands or TV and not on the bench; moreover in the past he said that it was hard to compete with Juventus against the European giants due to financial disparities.
Chelsea won’t be in the Champions League next season, but they have lots of money and the chance to build a successful new group around some top stars like Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard. Conte is – a bit like Mourinho – a manager who thinks the force of will of the group is key and so he works a lot on the chemistry inside the dressing room: this is how he created the ‘new Juventus’ after the Serie B era and I guess something similar is needed at Chelsea, as the club has to restart too, even if their slump this season is not comparable to Juventus’ bad years after Calciopoli.

Is he an upgrade on Jose Mourinho?

A difficult question to answer. He could certainly be an electroshock for the Blues players. Like Mourinho, Conte has a strong attitude and personality. He has the reputation of a sergeant but he is also very loyal and loved by his players. He should be loved by the fans for his charisma and he definitely has a lot of hunger and enthusiasm to become a coach who can win abroad and not only in Italy.

José Mourinho vs Antonio Conte

Image credit: Eurosport

Will he get the time he needs to make the right changes?

Yes. He signed a contract for three years and the most important thing is that he will have all six members of his staff with him. I think he will have a clear idea of which players need to step up and win and also what system of play he wants to use.

Does he speak English? Has he ever discussed working in the Premier League?

It seems he’s learning. In a press conference in December he spoke in English to the foreign journalists and then – asked by the Italian media if these new language skills were related to a possible Premier League job – he said: “it’s part of a cultural growth I’ve lived in the last year and a half, not only from a sporting point of view: as a manager, you know that in the future you could have the chance to get a job abroad, so you have to be ready.”

How has he done as Italy manager?

Good question, and it’s a bit hard to answer. The results of the Italian national team have been decent, but not great. It’s surely not the best generation for the Azzurri (and the big clubs in Italy are not investing that much in developing domestic talents) but you could expect a bit more than a couple of draws against Croatia and two 1-0 wins against the likes of Malta (we don’t take into account losses in the friendlies against Portugal and Belgium, because you know Italy is often awful in friendlies - it’s part of our DNA).
Italy are not spectacular at all, but this counts for nothing: the first target of Conte was reaching Euro 2016 and he secured qualification; now all his coaching ability will be evaluated in the tournament. As previously stated, he’s a “group first” type of manager, so you can only understand how good his work has been when his team faces big challenges and has to demonstrate something special. The Euros will give us the answer, but surely the credit he got from Juventus is still huge so his reputation here is great whatever happens in France.
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