Chelsea chief Antonio Conte is the latest subject of Manager Files as we take a look at the tactics, mannerisms, demeanour and touchline antics of the game’s top bosses.
The style has become familiar despite only being in England for a few short months: An expensively constructed hair weave is complemented by a somber yet stylish black suit, white shirt and thin black tie.
If he wasn’t managing Chelsea at the weekend Conte, with his dark piercing eyes and perennially serious disposition, would not have looked out of place as a mourner at a funeral.
Tactically Chelsea have been a side you cannot take your eyes off this season and the former Azzurri boss claimed at a press conference on Friday that he intends to revert to a 3-4-3 formation sooner rather than later.
However against the Swans he named the same team that he did for Burnley before the international break meaning a 4-1-4-1 formation was again the order of the day. C
Chelsea are a side built on width now, reliant on over-lapping full-backs and springing their attacking wide players into space.
Sunday’s game showed just how valuable Diego Costa is to the Blues as well. The striker will ultimately be judged on the goals he scores but at his best Costa is also a key component when it comes to their build up play. He again linked up brilliantly with Eden Hazard and there are few better in European football right now when it comes to holding the ball up and bringing others into the game.
Conte – who has forged a reputation as one of the more excitable and animated bosses in the Premier League – showed some admirable restraint in Wales.
Already during his short Chelsea tenure we’ve seen him diving into the crowd to celebrate a goal and running like a lunatic down the touchline while high-fiving fans.
On Sunday he was content to bark his orders from the touchline in his own inimitable way and celebrated both Chelsea goals with his usual zest. He was left scratching his head when Chelsea fell behind and will now have a decision to make regarding Gary Cahill, who again failed to cover himself with glory in a match that David Luiz watched from the sidelines.
Conte’s passionate displays from the dugout have certainly struck a chord with the Chelsea faithful who sang his name long and loud at various points throughout the game.
What they said
If the Chelsea boss was raging about Andre Marriner missing an obvious foul on Cahill by Leroy Fer before Swansea’s second goal he did pretty well to control his emotions and said afterwards: “I think everyone can see the tackle on Cahill was a foul, there was a great mistake by the referee, but I also want to say that this can happen for one side or the other and I don’t want to complain because it is a reality.”
And the Italian was magnanimous about Chelsea losing their 100% record at the Liberty Stadium. “We had a fantastic reaction to going behind and for this reason I am pleased with my players.
“But I also want to tell them that in this game if we have the possibility to kill the game, then we must kill it. We must learn this.”
Plenty of pundits claimed that two-goal hero Costa was again perhaps lucky not to be sent off in the match after a string of niggly clashes and a blatant dive that should have earned him a second booking before he popped up with an acrobatic leveller with nine minutes left. Conte however was full of praise for his battling striker saying: “It is incredible the defenders did not finish before the match did. But I also want to say that Diego showed fantastic behaviour to control the situation because he took a lot of kicks from the first minute until the end of the game.”
And with a subtle nod to officials ahead of Friday’s showdown against Liverpool, Conte continued “I think defenders know him, and sometimes try to provoke him. That happens in football around the world.”
Conte is a 66/1 chance with the bookmakers to be the first Premier League boss to leave his post this season and with the Blues sat second top that looks extremely unlikely as things stand. Roman Abramovich is not known for his patience but he’s no fool either abs will know in Conte he has a manager capable of leading Chelsea back to the very top.