What Andrea Pirlo told Frank Lampard when Chelsea appointed Antonio Conte

When Antonio Conte was named the manager of Chelsea towards the end of last season, the Italian had a big job on his hands.

After winning the Premier League under Jose Mourinho in the 2014-15 campaign, the very same players that lifted the trophy appeared to down tools the following season and cost Mourinho his job.

Was there too much player power at Stamford Bridge? Too much ego? A title-winning team had barely scraped a mid-table finish and Conte had Euro 2016 with Italy to consider before he could get his claws into the club.

The Blues looked good in the early going, but it was only after they converted to a 3-4-3 formation following a 3-0 defeat away at Arsenal that their fortunes really began to turn.

And one man who saw it coming was the legendary Andrea Pirlo.

The 37-year-old playmaker won three straight Serie A titles under Conte during his time with Juventus but when his old boss was named Chelsea manager, he was playing with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard for New York City.

He told Lamps right there and then the one thing he should expect Conte to bring to Chelsea, and they might not like it.

Lampard revealed to Sky: “When Conte signed for Chelsea, Pirlo said to me, ‘ring your mates and tell them they’re never gonna run as much as now‘.“

He continued: “I rang John [Terry], and he said, ‘that’s just what I need at 36‘. To be fair to him, he reacted, as we’ve seen from him.“

Chelsea are indeed a hard-working outfit and who can argue with the results? Conte has led them to the league title in his debut season and they did it with two games to spare.

Just before the news first broke, Lampard also revealed to BT Sport that Pirlo immediately vouched for Conte.

“I don’t know him too well but he’s got a great pedigree, a great recent record with Juventus,” he said. “I spoke with Andrea Pirlo about him and he has nothing but good words to say about him.

“It’s a difficult job at Chelsea now considering what’s happened this year, so we’ll see. If it is him, I think he has the pedigree to do it, but the decision has not been made so we’ll see.”

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