Graeme Souness insists Chelsea job will be tough for Antonio Conte without Champions League

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Chelsea announced Antonio Conte as their permanent manager for next season on Monday, taking over reigns from interim boss Guus Hiddink.

Conte has an excellent record since his Juventus days and would want to replicate the same success at Stamford Bridge during the next three years.

But Liverpool legend Graeme Souness is of the opinion that the task will be a tougher than the Italian might first think.


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Speaking to Sky Sports about the appointment of the 46-year-old, Souness said: “I think he’s got a monster job on now, Chelsea this year have been disappointing to say the least.”

“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.”

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The 62-year-old insists that former Blues’ manager Jose Mourinho realised he was fortunate to win the Premier League last season.

He added: “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.”

Souness believes the failure to recruit quality additions to the squad cost the Portuguese his job amidst fall-outs with the concerned authorities.


“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.”

With the arrival of the Italian head coach, Conte will have a similar job in hand to bring back the glory days for the Blues.

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

The Londoners had a quiet summer last year regarding transfer acquisitions, spending the lowest amount of money for five years.

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The former Anfield ace further reiterated the absence of Champions League football would also be a significant hindrance for Conte to lure world-class players to Stamford Bridge this summer.

“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 here is no quick fix to Chelsea.”

Souness, however, believes the former Juve boss must have the backing of the top officials at the club to be successful.

“He [Conte] has a hard job in hand, so will need a lot of support from the owner, will have to buy well and then Chelsea will be challenging again.”

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Although, there are mixed opinions about Conte being handed the vacant manager’s post, the Italian’s record speaks for itself.

Conte can boast an impressive win record of 54.9% and just a 17.1% loss percentage throughout his entire managerial career.

The Italian will take charge of the current English champions after finishing his tenure with the national side at Euro 2016 in France.

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