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The Italian Job – What Conte will bring to Chelsea judging by the Euros

2016-06-13T195159Z_108849119_MT1ACI14436200_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-EURO-BEL-ITAIf we’re to sit and judge new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on his successful start to Euro 2016 it’s set to be an intriguing summer for all. Conte opened the tournament with an efficient and professional 2-0 victory over one of the tournament favourites Belgium, then following that up with another win against Sweden to make them one of the first sides to qualify for the last 16.

Plenty was said prior to the tournament about the Azzurri, with suggestions of Conte’s side being one of the worst in some years although it seems the tactics set out by the former Juve manager is a huge reason as to why they’ve done well so far.

It’s time to have a look at what changes could be made when he final takes his place in the Stamford Bridge hot seat..

Three at the back?

Arguably the biggest talking point that will come with Conte is the decision to experiment with three at the back, it’s no secret he favours 3-5-2 with the Italian using it during his time at Juventus.

So far we’ve seen Italy play with the formation with emphasis on full backs joining in attacks but also having the energy to get back in shape and defend.

A source close to Conte suggested that the Italy coach plays to his side strengths depending on personnel, despite using the 3-5-2 formation he has experimented 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 although you would like to think based on what we’ve seen so far is that he will be trying his hardest to implement that system.

Under Conte the 3-5-2 has been formidable, it was the main formation which saw him win titles with Juve, it’s made all his sides solid defensively, Chelsea previous five seasons their goals conceded per game rate is 1.21, 1.03, 0.7, 0.84 and 1.39 compare that to Conte’s three years at Juve 0.53, 0.63 and 0.61 it speaks volumes about where the Italian prides himself the most.

If he is to opt for three at the back in West London changes in personnel will take place. All three centre backs for Italy are more than comfortable on the ball and playing out from the back, so no doubt Everton defender John Stones who Chelsea tried to buy last summer may potentially be one of his more preferred signings.

More firepower

A 3-5-2 also means reinforcements in the final third of the pitch, with Alexandre Pato failing to impress during his loan, while Loic Remy hasn’t been able to push out Diego Costa out the starting eleven.

They’ll need options, and with Diego Costa’s future still uncertain with reports of Atleti looking to re-sign the forward, it could be up to three or four strikers joining the club, how many marquee signings there may be, we don’t know.

At least Chelsea are well stocked with wide players for 3-5-2, though they will need to be tireless and want to work, like Antonio Candreva, Alessandro Florenzi and Matteo Darmian do for Italy. Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian are set to stay put this summer, while Juan Cuadrado could be handed another chance by Conte after a successful season on loan at Juventus.


A workaholic, don’t upset the man

Don’t annoy the man in black. It was reported that Conte was caught on camera on the touchline in France shouting:  ‘I will kill you all’ in Italian during the game with Belgium. Italy were already ahead at the time but had just gifted Romelu Lukaku an opportunity to score. That came after the Italian got a bloody nose while celebrating their opener. 

He is a workaholic, too. ‘There are 24 hours in a day,’ Conte has been quoted as saying. ‘I sleep five of them and devote three to my family. That leaves me with 16 to work with.’ It was even said that his wife, Elisabetta, used to wake up in the night to find her husband downstairs, watching football replays of upcoming opponents on TV.

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