A lot was made of his comments about the speculation going on at Stamford Bridge but I could understand why he spoke out and the players will, too.
I don’t think it is a bad thing that he showed his emotions. He is pretty cool headed most of the time. But sometimes if you have to say something, you should say it as a manager.
As a player I would be happy with the idea of Conte defending himself and the team as a whole. I would appreciate him nipping it in the bud.
Simon Johnson previews Roma vs Chelsea
You have to react at certain times. If you always keep your mouth shut, maybe you’re letting things run away that you shouldn’t do. Of course, pressure is not new to him. All the talk over Conte’s position is premature. Obviously, some of the stuff being said stems from the fact that Chelsea have a history of changing managers – so the moment there is any mention of discourse, then people will start to think it’s the same old story. I think Chelsea fans have become slightly immune to it all and so it comes just back to what is happening on the pitch.
The whole catalyst for this is that last season they were winning pretty much week in week out and opened up a gap at the top of the table. The minute that didn’t happen this term, questions were asked and different areas came under scrutiny.
This makes the timing of Conte’s return to his homeland with Chelsea tonight in the Champions League all the more noteworthy.
Conte will want to prove a point and to do that against Roma, Chelsea will have to play better than a fortnight ago when they did well to escape with a 3-3 draw.
Chelsea need to defend as a team. I will be surprised if Conte doesn’t pick three in midfield and I’m sure N’Golo Kante will start if he’s fit. Conte needs bodies in midfield, his team struggled against them at the Bridge. Roma moved the ball around and changed the play.
Given the standings in the group, Chelsea must come back with something. They put themselves in a great position with that win in Atletico last month but they suffered a slight setback last time.
A draw will keep them comfortable, a win will put them into the next round.
BT Sport is where the best go head-to-head, bringing you live coverage of the Premier League, Uefa Champions League and Europa League, Aviva Premiership, European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, the Ashes, boxing, UFC and MotoGP. For more information, visit BT.com/sport