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What Antonio Conte has to do in his first few months at Chelsea

COMMENT: After leaving the European Championship in the quarter-finals with Italy, Antonio Conte will surely have impressed many Chelsea fans, especially those who didn't know much about him before the competition.

Considering the national side didn't have Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio during the Euros, and with Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Candreva missing the quarter-final, taking a strong Germany team to a penalty shoot-out will surely be something positive for onlookers in West London.

In order to quickly endear himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful, Conte will need to act on a few different factors in order to make his debut season with the Blues a positive one.


4. Quickly integrate £30m signing N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante was a rock for Leicester City during the 2015/16 season, doing his job protecting the defence behind him, prompting Chelsea to splash £30million on his signature.

The Frenchman, who was at times a key player for France during the European Championships, is the type of defensive midfielder Chelsea love as he is someone who is a destroyer in the middle of the pitch.

With Nemanja Matic rumoured to being offloaded, Kante will definitely be the perfect replacement.

Most football fans were buzzing over Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy guiding Leicester to the Premier League title, but many forgot that Kante also played an equal part helping them achieve such success, and the Blues will be expecting similar performances now he has made his way to West London.

Conte during his football career played a lot of times in the defensive midfield role, so he will surely know that signing Kante is a no-brainer, especially with Matic possibly leaving and John Obi Mikel now seen as more of a bit-part player.


3. Let go of the least consistent contributors

Chelsea will not be competing in any European competitions next season, but this allows Conte enough time to settle into the league and use the pre-season to decide which players will not fit his style of play.

Some individuals could be fan favourites, but it will be important to believe in the Italian in whatever decisions he makes.

Oscar and Willian are the main players who have been linked consistently with other clubs, the duo haven't reached their potential that they were signed for and it would be ideal for Conte to get £50m-£60m for the pair.

If Conte is to play with wing-backs – this would generally mean reigning Player of the Season Willian has no future at the club whilst Oscar doesn't seem to have the abilities the ex-Italy manager wants in a central midfielder.


2. Time for defensive reinforcements

The Blues currently have a defence consisting of players in their 30s; John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic.

It's true the side will need Terry's leadership skills as a captain after a poor campaign to keep the squad motivated, but it won't be helpful on relying on him throughout the season as he becomes more susceptible to injuries.

A centre-back will surely be needed in the summer – with Kalidou Koulibaly and Leonardo Bonucci being mentioned as a possible target.

Conte likes his wing-backs to be effective on both sides of the pitch, as shown from his Italy side that put on some fantastic performances against Spain and Belgium during the Euros. It's no doubt that Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the best full-backs in the Premier League, but his end product when going forward hasn't been positive – so it wouldn't be a surprise if the Spaniard is dropped from the starting line-up.

It's well known that Conte played the 3-5-2 formation during his time at Juventus, but it mainly came down to his squad including three world class centre-backs in Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli.

Without a doubt Conte won't be facing another situation like this at Chelsea, but they will more or less have to bring some defensive additions in this summer if they want to atone for last season's horror title defence.


1. Keep and motivate the star players

The main task for Conte will be making sure his key players are in the right mood and fully prepared for the season ahead of them.

Many players will surely find it difficult to forget last season, but Conte's tactical approach mainly comes through motivation which will surely be a big boost for many players.

Furthermore, some players have admitted that Chelsea kicked off the 2015/16 campaign out of condition after a late start to pre-season, possibly due to a premiership hangover.

After ending the season with a couple of goals despite a poor season overall, Eden Hazard returned to his own self whilst representing Belgium during the European Championships.

The winger, who was also the captain for his country, led his team very well by scoring one goal and providing four assists during his five appearances. This will definitely be fantastic news for Conte and he will be hoping the side's other key players can do the same.

Chelsea have recently announced the signing of Michy Batshuayi from Marseille.

The Belgian forward was equal fourth highest goal-scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 17 for a Marseille side that disappointingly finished 13th. A signing that will surely bring some happiness within the squad and could possibly help them turn them into title challengers once again.

Chelsea still have one of the best squads in the world in terms of quality, Conte has to make sure they are all ready for a competitive season after they failed to fire early last term under Jose Mourinho.

About the author

Asif Norat

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