The Making of Conte…

Dominic Fifield writing for The Guardian:

“It takes time to accept the sheer amount of work he is asking of you. Everything he does, in preparation or tactical organisation, is done with maniacal precision and attention to detail. It can be overwhelming at first. But, when you realise by buying into it you can win things, you follow. He is a perfectionist. The best there is. The No1.”

This is unsurprising given what Conte has achieved so far in his career. Turning around a disparate squad, mentally broken by Mourinho, into likely title-winners, is not something to be readily sniffed at, regardless if Chelsea are playing in Europe or not. Add to this his role in the restoring Juventus and the relative success of Italy at Euro 2016 with what was described as one of the worst Azzurri squads ever, and Conte begins edge his way into the echelon of the world’s top managers.

“He is replicating what he did at Siena and Bari, ensuring his players know exactly where to be on the pitch at any one time, and proving yet again that managers schooled at Coverciano [the Italian FA’s headquarters in Florence] are the best, tactically, in the world.”

This point about Coverciano cannot be understated. Max Allegri, like Conte, current Juve boss and product of the Italian Federation’s coaching school is highly skilled at adapting his squad to match-specific situations and exploiting his opponent’s vulnerabilities.

The manager goes out of his way to know how every player is feeling, whether he is fatigued or distracted, at ease or on edge and can empathise with them given his own 19-year professional career.

The regular team meals – there was another in a London restaurant before the trip to Old Trafford – have helped bond the group

Just as revealing were the bottles of wine and prosecco he sent to all members of staff, together with a signed note thanking them for their hard work

It’s surprising when this kind of thing is written as if it’s something new and innovative. Granted, there’s a narrative the writers must fulfil, but really, this is plain old good leadership from a man who knows how to get it done.


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