Barca visit presents CL stage Conte craves

first_img“We must be excited to play this type of game, especially against this team. I consider Barcelona one of the best teams in the world.”Conte also considers himself one of the best coaches in the world, referring to himself despite a recent 4-1 drubbing at Watford as “a winner.”He does so with some justification.In a glittering coaching career, Conte made Juventus title winners again with three consecutive Serie A titles after a five-year drought.He also surpassed expectations by leading an Italy side short on star names to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, and delivered the Premier League in his debut season at Chelsea.However, a second season slump at the Bridge and his fractious relationship with the club’s hierarchy means most believe the Italian won’t last at Chelsea beyond the end of the season at the latest.Whether it is to convince Roman Abramovich and close aid Marina Granovskaia he should remain in charge next season or to attract the attention of Europe’s other giants who may be looking for a coach come the summer, Conte needs Champions League nights to remember.His two years in the competition at Juventus ended in a 4-0 quarter-final aggregate thrashing from Bayern Munich and an embarrassing group stage exit behind Galatasaray.Conte complained then it was impossible for Italian sides to compete at the latter stages of the Champions League.It didn’t help his case then that his successor Massimiliano Allegri then led Juve to two Champions League finals in three seasons.– Conte’s money complaints –There have been similarities between Conte’s final days at Juventus and many of his public outbursts against the Chelsea ownership this season over his lack of input over recruitment and how much is spent.“I think I’m a bit of a disaster to convince the club to buy the players,” Conte said last week.“I have to speak more with the managers who are very, very good to persuade their clubs to spend money and buy top players.”Conte may then welcome his meeting with the more softly-spoken Ernesto Valverde this week.Barcelona’s coach Ernesto Valverde’s calm has restored stability to a club that badly needed a steady hand after a tumultuous summer © AFP/File / Josep LAGOIn Valverde’s eight-month spell in charge, Barca have smashed their club record transfer fee twice for Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.Yet, it is in a very different way that Conte may be able to learn from Valverde as neither Dembele or Coutinho have made much impact on Barca opening up a seven-point La Liga lead and booking their place in the Copa del Rey final.Instead, Valverde has made the best of what he inherited to turn Barca from the depths of a pre-season crisis into potential treble winners.Neymar’s decision to walk out on the club for a world record 222 million euros to Paris Saint-Germain was a huge loss that Valverde has used as an opportunity to reconstruct a more solid side that maintains the firepower of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack.A change from Barca’s traditional 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 has seen them concede just once in their six Champions League games to date, and 11 times in 24 La Liga outings.Meanwhile, the space left unoccupied by Neymar has unleashed left-back Jordi Alba as an attacking threat.Alba was on target as Barca equalled a club record by avoiding defeat for a 31st straight La Liga game in a 2-0 win at Eibar on Saturday.Most of all, Valverde’s calm has restored stability to a club that badly needed a steady hand after a tumultuous summer.That may be the lesson Conte and Chelsea can learn from most of all before careering towards another messy divorce at the end of the season.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Chelsea’s head coach Antonio Conte considers himself one of the best coaches in the world © AFP/File / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 19 – Barcelona’s visit to Chelsea on Tuesday gives Antonio Conte the perfect opportunity to reaffirm his stature as one of Europe’s greatest coaches.“To play against Barcelona is a great challenge for us,” Conte said after easing the pressure on his job with back-to-back home wins over West Brom and Hull in the past week.last_img read more

‘Emery needs three windows to get targets’

first_imgUnai Emery has Arsenal “going the right way”, says Ray Parlour, but will need “maybe three transfer windows” in which to get the players he wants.The Spaniard was given no recruitment warchest when inheriting the reins from Arsene Wenger over the summer.As a result, he had to make only minor tweaks to the ranks at Emirates Stadium, with experience added across the backline and exciting potential drafted into midfield. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! He has been able to deliver impressive results with those at this disposal, with the Gunners currently on a 16-game unbeaten run.Growing confidence at Emirates Stadium is built on a belief that there is even more to come, with Emery offering cause for optimism as he prepares to further bolster his ranks with more players that fit his system.Former Arsenal star Parlour told the Daily Star on the present and future in north London: “I think the club is all going the right way now. “Everybody’s sticking together, fans are behind the team, which is very important. “Last year we saw fans weren’t turning up and suddenly everyone wants to go to the games. “So you’ve got to give the manager two, maybe three transfer windows because they’ll be certain players he might be looking at now to try and bring in. “He’s got the system he wants to try and play.”Emery is still looking for Arsenal to dominate games, as Wenger did before him.He has, however, tried to make the Gunners harder to beat, with the club often accused of having a soft centre when the going got tough under their former boss.A change in approach has delivered rich rewards so far, with an ongoing push for a top-four finish in the Premier League complementing productive runs through Carabao Cup and Europa League competition. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more