Winning over happiness for Chelsea's Conte

By Sacha Pisani 18 February 2017 247
Winning over happiness for Chelsea's Conte

Winning, not happiness, is paramount for head coach Antonio Conte as Chelsea close in on the Premier League title.

Runaway leaders Chelsea are eight points clear atop the table after 25 rounds, ahead of nearest rivals Manchester City.

Despite their stellar form in 2016-17, Chelsea have not been without problems following a disagreement between Conte and striker Diego Costa.

Cesc Fabregas has also struggled to break into the starting XI, while Chelsea great and veteran John Terry has watched from afar.

Conte said he is at Stamford Bridge to win titles, not to keep all his players happy ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round fixture against Wolves.

"The most important thing, the target, is to win, not to try to have 21 players happy," Conte said. "I want to be happy, but I'm happy if we win. Not if we lose and have 21 players happy.

"To be happy we go to the theatre, [to] the cinema.

"I want the players to try to fight to put me [under] pressure, [to give me] problems to solve, to make the best solution for the team.

"We must continue to put the team above all."

"I want to give them great respect, because I demand this. I think that's the right way to have a good dressing room," Conte continued.

"Believe me it's not easy to have these types of players, this type of group. I think we're growing a lot in these seven months in all these aspects."

"If the player wants to ask me, the player knows very well that my door is always open. When you are honest in your choices, you can always see your players straight in the eyes."

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Sacha Pisani