Belfast Telegraph

In Tray awaiting new Chelsea head coach following Antonio Conte’s departure

Maurizio Sarri is the favourite to take over in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

Antonio Conte has left his role as Chelsea head coach.

Whoever replaces the Italian – former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri is reportedly set for the role – has a series of challenging tasks to take on.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of those issues.

Be diplomatic

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Chelsea are in arguably the most turbulent period of Roman Abramovich’s ownership (Nick Potts/PA)

Antonio Conte was on message and delivered during his first season with Chelsea. Then, from a position of strength, the Italian challenged Roman
Abramovich’s autocratic regime. It was only going to end one way. For sustained success at Chelsea, it will require patience from both the head coach and the Chelsea hierarchy. Diplomacy will be necessary.

Rebuild bridges

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Chelsea are still to find a technical director to replace Michael Emenalo, who left last November (Mike Egerton/PA)

The whingeing of Conte will have alienated players, staff and board members. The absence of a technical director, since Michael Emenalo’s November departure, will not have helped. Conte’s replacement must have good relationships in both directions of Chelsea’s pyramid and a new technical director would be welcome. The players need to trust the new head coach.

Foster leadership and unity

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Chelsea need more leaders to support captain Gary Cahill (Nick Potts/PA)

The departures of assistant Steve Holland, to England, and long-serving captain John Terry, to Aston Villa, last summer created a void which has not been adequately filled. Gary Cahill has grown into the role of club captain, but Chelsea need more who lead by example in words and deed. There were too many lacklustre performances last season.

Retain talent

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The futures of Eden Hazard, left, and Thibaut Courtois remain in doubt (Nick Potts/PA Images)

This is largely a club issue, given Chelsea managers, or head coaches, have decreasing influence on transfer strategy. But it is clear Chelsea must make a swift decision on goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has one year remaining on his contract and could be sold if he does not extend his deal, and Eden Hazard. Hazard is hesitating over an offer to renew his contract, which expires in 2020, and wants “good” players to come in. Young talent, like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, should also be incorporated into the first team.

Win, win again and win well

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Antonio Conte led Chelsea to two trophies, including the FA Cup win in his final match in charge (David Davies/PA)

The Blues are serial winners. Anything less than trophies is a disappointment – and a sackable offence. Even claiming two pieces of silverware could not spare Conte. Abramovich has become accustomed to winning, and the Russian oligarch would settle for nothing less than a trophy and a Champions League return in 2018-19.

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