Chelsea appoint Antonio Conte - but is he the right man for the job?
Italy boss will take over after Euro 2016 and will stick to philosophy of hard graft and teamwork
Chelsea have confirmed that Italy boss Antonio Conte will take over as first team coach this summer.
The 46-year-old former Juventus manager has agreed a three-year contract with the deposed Premier League champions, who sacked Jose Mourinho in December, and will take charge after leading Italy in Euro 2016. Interim boss Guus Hiddink will remain until the end of the season.
The sometimes abrasive manager led Juventus to three consecutive Serie A titles in three seasons before taking over the national side in 2014. In Turin, he lost only seven out of 114 league games and his team went undefeated during his first term in charge. In his final campaign, Juventus became the first side in Serie A history to get 100 points in a season.
As a player, Conte made more than 400 appearances for Juventus, winning five league titles and a Champions League.
But how will he fare as a Premier League manager?
"If Chelsea were looking for a man specifically to lead them from the unfamiliar surrounds of mid-table back to the title fight, they could not have hand-picked a better candidate than Conte," says Peter Staunton of Goal.com. "He is itching to get back to working on a day-to-day basis and has been improving his English steadily since leaving Juve."
Conte instructed his players at Juventus to "eat grass", reports Paolo Baldini of The Guardian. "It was his idiosyncratic way of telling them to work harder, to run further than everybody else... Conte has built his career on relentless graft and will expect nothing less from his squad at Stamford Bridge."
The manager also has a reputation for flying off the handle - midfielder Andrea Pirlo once said he regretted choosing a locker by the dressing room door at Juventus as that was where Conte threw the water bottles during his rants. His words would "crash through the doors of your mind", added the player.
Is he the new Mourinho?
"It is tempting to draw comparisons between Conte and his Chelsea predecessor Jose Mourinho," says Baldini. "Both are combative, stubborn and talented – not to mention adept at selling the narrative that the whole world is out to get their team. But the 46-year-old Conte may resemble another former Premier League manager even more closely. When Carlos Tevez was asked during his first season at Juventus what differences existed between Conte and Sir Alex Ferguson, his reply was: 'Not many.'"
Will he succeed?
"The key then will be how the Chelsea players react to his uncompromising style; Mourinho complained that his players stopped playing for him by the end. They could be in for a shock when Conte rolls into town this summer," says the Daily Telegraph.
But he is the "perfect man" for the job, says Ron Carne of Caughtoffside.
"Building on the success that Jose Mourinho brought to Stamford Bridge in his second spell was always going to be a difficult task. Guus Hiddink deserves plenty of credit for the stability he has brought in and the overall job he has done since arriving in December, but Conte is undoubtedly a step forward in the right direction," he writes.
"The Italian tactician will bring his own ideas and sign his own players, but ultimately he won’t look to oversee a dramatic overhaul and a change in mentality as his demands of the players will not be unfamiliar to them."