After storming the Serie A with Juventus and leading the Italian national team to a respectable Euro 2016 campaign in which they beat the likes of Spain and Belgium, Conte moved to England to take charge of Chelsea, a spell which often divides opinion.No one can deny the Italian did a superb job to guide the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season and considering he won Chelsea’s first title in almost eight years with a stunning 93 points, Conte will go down as a Premier League giant too.
The Italian set up in 3-5-2/3-4-2-1 and got the very best out of the likes of Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses as wing-backs, allowing Eden Hazard to play alongside or just behind the dangerous Diego Costa. Conte set many records in his time at Stamford Bridge, including matching Arsenal's 2002 record of 13 successive league wins in a single season. It really was an incredible first season that put Chelsea back on top of the division and almost all the credit goes to the genius of the former Italy international for transforming this depleted club.
Although it was ultimately his second season that spelled the end for Conte’s reign, his second term in west London was still a brilliant campaign. Whilst they didn’t manage to sustain a European spot, the decision to sack Conte was still harsh, and almost every other club would have kept him on, bar Chelsea.
There was fierce competition from Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool all battling it out for a place in the top four, which Chelsea ultimately fell short of by just five points. The sacking does look even harsher when you see that the Italian guided his team to an FA Cup trophy in that season, beating United in the final.
Failing to qualify for Europe’s biggest competition is disappointing, but if the Chelsea board allowed Conte to continue building the team that won him the league and FA Cup, things could have been different in the following seasons. But, then again, this is a club that sacked Carlo Ancelotti after winning the FA Cup and Premier League in his first season, so it’s fair to say that it was them rather than him.