By Oma Akatugba (@omaakatugba)
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has come under heavy criticism of late, owing to Chelsea’s recent poor run of form. Many have called for Conte to be sacked saying that the club is in crises and as usual there are those who believe things are yet to go out of control. This has provoked some very interesting debate on The Nigerian football twitter space. In fact, this matter has polarised Football twitter.
Conte joined Chelsea in 2016, picking up a team that was left in shambles by Jose Mourinho, who was fired with Chelsea in 16th spot on the league table. Just one point above the relegation spot. The then team manager Mike Emenalo, who pointedly refused to use Mourinho’s name in an interview with the club’s in-house television channel, said: “The new contract signifies that what happened today was not a premeditated decision. It was a decision taken to protect the interests of the club. While there is huge sentiment for the individual, who has done so much for the club, the fact remains Chelsea football club is in trouble. The results have not been good.
“There obviously seemed to be a palpable discord between manager and players and we feel it was time to act. The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club. We are one point above relegation and that’s not good enough. Any fan can understand this club is in trouble and something needed to be done.”
Conte went on to win the league title in his first season without making so many changes to the squad that was used by Jose Mourinho. There was a report of a discord between the players and Jose then which perhaps led to a revolt by the players for the manager to be fired and the club had to take a decision and they stood with the players.
Fast forward to the 2017/2018 season, Chelsea has gone from winning the league title to losing to teams like Watford, Burnmouth in quick succession and this has led to calls from a cross-section of Chelsea fans to call for his sack.
Many have criticized him for sending Diego Costa away. This is one decision he made in a hurry. We can all remember Conte’s fateful text message to Costa at the start of June, in which he said, “you are not in my plan”, This for me was a catastrophic error of judgment. It ostracised a key player, compromised his transfer value and infuriated the board. He let his emotions get the better of him. Making Morata the top striker, as well as the quality of signings made by Conte.
But United supporters on twitter believe Chelsea’s recent poor form is down to one man. And that is their manager, Mourinho.
They believe it was Mourinho’s controversial comments about Conte being a match-fixer and how he celebrates like a clown, and the reaction on Twitter is pretty funny.
But what I think is that it is ridiculous to think like this. This is just a way for Manchester United fans to feel good about themselves and club knowing fully that they are not doing any better either. We can all agree that Manchester City has won the league title, which makes the only thing left to achieve for the other teams is to make the Champions League spot. Chelsea is still in the top 4 and can still qualify for next season’s Champions League, 1 point behind Liverpool in 3rd spot and 6 behind 2nd place Manchester United. We all know this is just a phase for Chelsea and every club passes through this, except FC Barcelona (Laughs).
Yes, what is happening is not good for the fans of the club, but I insist the club is not in crises. Yes, Conte has gotten some decisions wrong but this is only human and he can pick up the pieces again and Chelsea will be back to winning ways.
One thing I can say for sure is that Conte will not lead Chelsea to an ignominious 16 spot just like Mourinho did before he was fired last season.
I stand with Antonio Conte, what about you?
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