Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has told his men to accept the fact that they must be proud of representing the club and accept his squad rotation policy.
The Italian manager has made it clear that the players must be happy to either be on the pitch or sit on the bench and wait for their turn to play, either ways as they are in a Blues’ shirt. The remark was made at a presser on Tuesday when the former Juventus manager was questioned about his limited utilization of Willian, who was the club’s Player of the Year, a couple of years ago.
However, the Brazilian has enjoyed a good run of form in recent times, scoring a brace and winning a couple of penalties in his team’s 4-0 Champions League triumph over Qarabaghe, before securing the equalizer against Liverpool as well in their 1-1 draw at Anfield. But with very congested fixture list for December, with the Blues playing nine games before New Year, including a Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid and key fixtures in the Premier League, that could change their season.
During his pre-match press conference, Antonio Conte said “Why are you asking about Willian and not [Eden] Hazard at the start of the season, and not Pedro the same? They have the same situation. Every game I have to make the best decision. I repeat: my players must be happy to stay in Chelsea and to play for Chelsea and to play for our fans.
“They must be happy if they start the game, or if they stay on the bench and come on. I think I have clever players to understand the situation and accept the situation. Hazard, at the start of the season, accepted the situation to stay on the bench before finding the right form. It’s the same for Pedro, for Willy, for other players.
When you are in a great team, you have to accept this and, at the same time, you must be happy to stay in a great team.”
With a lot of quick fixtures coming within a short span of time, in the upcoming weeks, the boss has confirmed that there will be rotation within the squad and whoever stars on the bench should take pride that they are playing for the Londoners. Hopefully, his players can make sense out of these comments and do not react in the wrong way, though everyone directly or indirectly knows that the Italian manager is sending a message to stars like the Brazilian winger.
There is nothing wrong with saying what Antonio Conte had to say, as it is every manager’s right to expect a certain level of discipline and professionalism from his players. As a coach who won the Premier League title in his debut season in England and three back-to-back Scudetti, that is the least that he can expect from his players. He will really need their support and back g, if he wishes to retain the league and win more silverware in the upcoming days.