Pundit: Antonio Conte has been making the most of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea gift
Niall Quinn praises Antonio Conte for making the most of Chelsea's lack of European football this season
Niall Quinn has praised Antonio Conte for making the most of Jose Mourinho’s “parting gift” for Chelsea – a season with no European football.
The Italian manager has earned plenty of praise for the impact he has had at Stamford Bridge since being appointed as Mourinho’s permanent successor at the west London club last year.
Chelsea are currently flying high at the top of the Premier League table and are seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham as they chase the title in Conte’s first season in England.
The Blues are also in with a shout of securing a Premier League and FA Cup double this season, with Chelsea set to take on Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-finals later this month.
And former Arsenal man Quinn says Conte is the obvious choice to be manager of the season in the Premier League.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Quinn said: “Conte has been pretty extraordinary.
“It wasn’t so simple at the start. I thought this man was fired up and it wasn’t really going well. You saw this battle-weary and battle-hardened man jumping up and down on the touchline and you were wondering if he could pull it together as they struggled for the first few weeks.
“It’s more than just changing it to three at the back. There’s more to it than that. There was a message to the players that we have to do better.
“It’s been like a well-oiled machine since then. He’s also been really lucky with injuries and he’s benefitted from Jose Mourinho’s parting gift to Chelsea of not qualifying for Europe.
“That’s been an important part of Chelsea’s ability to name a consistent XI each week and keep a consistent flow going.”
Chelsea take on Manchester United at Old Trafford in their next Premier League game on Sunday afternoon as they look to take another step closer to the title.