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Antonio Conte's man-management - The reason behind Chelsea's success

Tuesday 6th June 2017
Diego Costa was once considered the most controversial player in the Premier League. The forward got a total of nine match suspension in his first two seasons with the Blues, due to the numerous bans handed to him by the Football Association. Mostly, for confrontations with opponents on the pitch. Credit must go to Antonio Conte for that.

One particular standout event was when he stamped on Liverpool's Emre Can back in 2015, which he got a three-match ban for.

However, the Spain international seemed to have turned over a new leaf as nothing of that nature occurred this season, despite Costa being a target of a tough tackle by most Premier League defenders.

Arsenal defender, Rob Holding, confronted Costa in the FA Cup final, calling him a “f****** psycho” after he struggled to take possession of the ball without success. Costa just gave him a harmless stare, an action so unlike him. The old Costa would have gone in for the kill and ensuring he inflicts some measure of pain.
Costa going through a season without any record of violence and cheating hardly seems worthy of mentioning, but it does signify that the Spaniard and the Blues team in general now know how to show restraint.

Much acknowledgement has been given to Antonio Conte's profound style of 3-4-3 play. However, the Italian's ability to organise and control the persona and disposition of his team is a far cry from the docile ways of his predecessor, Jose Mourinho.

Diego Costa's calm attitude this season makes it a glaring fact. Conte was able to help the forward convert his frustration into a whopping 20 goals in the Premier League, a thing Mourinho found difficult to achieve.

Keeping Diego Costa's aggressiveness at bay was not Conte's only man-management success.

Chelsea showed more aggression in the Premier League this season. They were booked 75 times; 14 more than the total of last season. Yet, their aggression produced positive results rather than negative ones as the Blues did not get any red cards at all. Last season they picked up five sending offs.

Conte was able to strike a balance between aggression and discipline. He was able to get the best out of players who were supposedly at the end of their Chelsea Careers.

Victor Moses is a model of Conte's effort. Previously an outcast at the club, living out his contract on loan with different clubs in the country. Conte raised him up from the dust and helped fulfil his potential. Now, he's a regular in the starting line-up.

Antonio Conte's man-management magic and his inclusion of Moses into the team saw the player move out of obscurity to become a critically acclaimed player both in the Premier League and Champions League.

In general, the whole of the Chelsea team took on a new look driven by Antonio Conte. The Italian manager showed Eden Hazard he can be the best, Nemanja Matic that he can be a threat to the opposition, and Thibaut Courtois that he's meant to be at the top of the game.

Conte also showed his brilliance in the transfer market. Before this season, David Luiz was both one of the big talents in England and also one of the most inconsistent defenders in the world. However, the emergence of Conte as the manager turned around the form of the Brazilian and he became one of the most reliable players at Stamford Bridge all through the campaign.

In the end, the Blues squad emanated confidence and high spirits all through the season. Even players like Cesc Fabregas and Willian were affected with the positive transformation. Despite getting little playing time, they were ready whenever called upon and always did excellently - not allowing frustration get the better of them.

The duo, despite being surrounded with speculations of a potential move, seemed content staying with the team.

Michy Batshuayi, who was Conte's first signing, was submissive to the tutelage of his manager and demonstrated enthusiasm and loyalty to the team despite his few chances.

Above all, due to his tactics and in-game decisions, Antonio Conte made the team believe in themselves. Without a doubt, Jose Mourinho did same before things became less pleasant in typical fashion under the Portuguese coach.

However, Conte's effect with the team will likely be more long-lived due to the inclusivity practiced in the club, where players from on the bench know their place in the team.
Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan


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