Skip to content

Antonio Conte has a tough job at Chelsea without Champions League pull, says Graeme Souness

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Graeme Souness believes Antonio Conte has a tough task on his hands to turn around Chelsea's fortunes and says there'll be no quick fix at Stamford Bridge

Antonio Conte has a "hard job on his hands" at Chelsea next season, and the club will be far less attractive to players without Champions League football, says Graeme Souness.

Conte was named as Blues manager from next season on Monday, replacing interim Guus Hiddink was sacked in May.

Chelsea's form has improved since Jose Mourinho's departure, but the champions still sit 10 points off fourth place with just seven games remaining.

Head coach Antonio Conte and Mario Balotelli during Italy training Session in November 2014
Image: Conte must first concentrate on Italy at Euro 2016 this summer

Conte is currently building towards Italy's Euro 2016 campaign in France, but Souness says the to-do list at Stamford Bridge will not be easy to tick off.

Souness told Sky Sports: "I think he's got a monster job on now, Chelsea this year have been disappointing to say the least.

Will Conte fit Chelsea?
Will Conte fit Chelsea?

With Antonio Conte taking over at Chelsea in the summer, what do we know about the Italy boss?

"They started as champions and never really got going. When Guus Hiddink come in you thought all their problems would be solved but they weren't. They've been up and down all season, even with the lift a new manager gives you.

"I think Jose saw the writing on the wall, he knew he had been lucky to win the league last year, he must have driven them, cajoled them, bullied them, to get to that point to win it, and at the start of the season he wanted more players and better players, and for some reason he didn't get them.

Also See:

Chelsea's English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring
Image: Chelsea are 10 points off the top four with seven games remaining

"That must have been the reason he fell out with whoever he ended up falling out with, and that would include the players. Looking back, Jose was right, because that group were not good enough to go and retain the title this year.

"Conte coming in, unless he can go out and buy some real quality, it will be another up and down season for Chelsea."

Conte's Chelsea to-do list
Conte's Chelsea to-do list

Resolve John Terry's future, sort out transfer policy, rejuvenate Eden Hazard... Conte's to-do list

Chelsea won the league by eight points from Manchester City last season, but spent less in the summer of 2015 than they had the previous five seasons.

Souness believes Conte will need substantial backing to improve the Chelsea side, but their potential absence from Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2002 will have a major impact.

Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, Manchester United v Chelsea, Premier League, 26 October 2014
Image: Jose Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December after a woeful start to the campaign for the champions

"That's the dilemma [no Champions League], the attraction of Chelsea in recent years can be put to two main reasons, the wages plus the attraction of the Champions League. So there is no quick fix to Chelsea.

"He's a different voice, has different thoughts. Does he have a magic wand? No coach has a magic wand, it's all about players.

Roman Abramovich, Jose Mourinho, Chelsea, October 2014
Image: Roman Abramovich (left) must back Conte substantially if Chelsea are to succeed next season, says Souness

"He has a hard job on his hands, so will need a lot of support from the owner, will have to buy well, and then Chelsea will be challenging again.

"They've still got the nucleus of a really good team, but the fact they really couldn't get going again when they replaced the so-called 'problem' with Jose falling out with people, they didn't really go on from there."

Around Sky