Middlesbrough Match: Conte Wants Total Focus From Chelsea
Antonio Conte has made clear his appreciation for the application shown by his squad in taking on a new and currently successful way of playing, but now he sees another challenge ahead of Chelsea.
Four league wins in a row earned the Italian October’s Manager of the Month award, and they were followed by another good result against Everton before international fixtures pressed the pause button on the domestic season, but now he must ensure the run of good form does not lead to the players relaxing their approach or dropping their guard.
‘We have been working these days to avoid this,’ Conte confirms.
‘We are working to find the right concentration and the right focus because on Sunday (against Middlesbrough) we know we will have a tough game against a strong team that drew with Arsenal and Manchester City.
‘I must be honest, there is this possibility that this right momentum will stop and we are working very hard to avoid this, and I am confident of finding the right way very quickly.’
The signs are good that the players are receptive to Conte’s methods and he does not fault them for taking some weeks to settle into the current groove.
‘For sure when you arrive in a new club and also in a new country, it is more difficult to bring your method, your idea, your philosophy and it be followed quickly, particularly if players are used to another philosophy, but I am pleased because from the start of the season I always saw the right work-rate, the right commitment from the players and it is normal that to understand the method, you need a bit of time, but now I am very glad to see they are adapted to this method.’
And that applies to whole team from the back to the front, including two players who are scoring regularly and attracting plenty of plaudits.
‘Diego Costa is a very good player and the same for Eden Hazard, and it is important for me and Diego’s team-mates to see him every game working a lot with and without the ball. He is an example for all. If he continues to score I am very happy but I am happier to see this commitment and this work rate in training and in the games. If all the players are able to think this way then we are a very good team, a very tough team, ‘ he told Chelsea’s website.