Antonio Conte offered advice on how to approach tough Chelsea job
Danny Murphy believes Antonio Conte could struggle to keep all his players happy at Chelsea over the course of the season
Antonio Conte could struggle to keep all the members of his Chelsea squad onside unless the Blues manager ensures lines of communication are open with his players, according to Danny Murphy.
The Italian has settled on his preferred starting XI and has stuck with the same side almost religiously over the past 11 Premier League games which have seen the leaders collect a staggering 33 points.
However, Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante both missed the west London side’s home clash against Bournemouth on Boxing Day due to suspension which forced Conte to change up his starting XI.
Conte had won 14 of his 17 Premier League games in charge of the west London side before Monday afternoon’s clash – only losing to title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal in September.
However, Murphy believes one of the Chelsea manager’s biggest challenges could be keeping all his players happy over the course of the 2016-17 season.
“There will be other times in the season when Antonio Conte has to use players like Batshuayi, who have played far less than the regulars. A manager has to ensure that those players who are not his first choice are ready when called upon — and it is one of the hardest jobs in the game,” Murphy told the Evening Standard.
“Communication is crucial here. If a player needs to vent at you because he’s not playing, let him. Make sure you are available and be honest.
“If you’re speaking to your second-choice right-back, don’t avoid the issue. Tell him straight, “You are my second-choice right-back but when the guy who’s playing at the moment loses form or gets an injury, you are in”. For most players, that clarity is enough to keep you going.
“If Conte follows that approach, I am sure it will pay dividends.”
Chelsea appointed Conte as Hiddink’s successor in the summer following a tenth-place finish.