Antonio Conte has spoken about how his experiences of missing out on honours in Serie A and with the Italian national team fuels his desire to lift more silverware.
The Blues boss saw his team beat Arsenal 3-1 with an impressive performance at the weekend, but he knows how quickly a nine-point lead can evaporate in a division as tough as the Premier League, having gone through similar scenarios in his domestic top flight, as well as when represnting the Azzurri on the biggest stages in football.
‘I have a great experience, not only as a manager but as a player,’ he explained. ‘When you play 13 years at Juventus, you have a lot of these situations. I won five titles as a footballer, but a lot of times I arrived in second place, and I think when you arrive in second place it's not good. People remember only those who win.
‘I also bring a lot of examples with the national team. I lost two finals, the World Cup and European Championship, and you must know my anger in every game – the will to fight, the will to win – because I know in my career, I am lucky to win a lot, but I also lost a lot.
‘When you arrive at this point, you think that everything is simple, but it's not true,' he said, moving on the present day. 'You can see in the previous games – Swansea beat Liverpool, and Watford beat Arsenal – there are lots of examples. For this reason, we must pay great attention and prepare every game with great attention.’
Conte harked back to what he said to the players after our previous encounter against the Gunners when we lost 3-0, before the Blues embarked on a run of 16 victories from 18 league matches to put ourselves in our current situation.
‘We had a moment when I told the players and underlined the negative situation,’ he said. ‘After the Liverpool and Arsenal defeats, I said very clearly that we must show we are a great team on the pitch, not only because Chelsea is a great team, but you must show in every game, during the game, that you are a great team, not only because your name is Chelsea.
‘After the two defeats a lot of things changed and now I can talk only of positive things and I hope this continues because it means that we are doing something important this season.’
The Italian also discussed the qualities which make champions, saying: ‘To win the title you need good players with good talent, but also to be a team. You have to be able to put this talent into the team, to create a good organisation, to create a team where every single player knows his position, knows his situation with and without the ball – I think that's important. Also to create a family spirit between us. I'm pleased for this because in these six months, we are building something important in this club.’
As always, Conte showed incredible passion on the touchlines throughout Saturday’s win, particularly when celebrating with the fans after Eden Hazard’s wonder goal.
‘I think I live my work with great intensity because I give, not 100 per cent, but 120/130 per cent,’ he said. ‘I think in my work I put a great part of my day, I put my passion, my emotion and I try to justify this to my players.
‘I live the game with great intensity and sometimes in football, when there are very important moments, to keep my patience and enthusiasm is very difficult. It's good to share these emotions with my players, with my staff and sometimes also with the fans, because I want this and I think I deserve this for the patience that I put in every moment of my life in football.’