Chelsea's history of success under Italian managers provides promise for Antonio Conte

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In the last 18 years, Chelsea have had four different Italian managers, three of them having served under the ownership of Roman Abramovich. 

Each of those managers have left a crucial mark on the club, whether it be in terms of trophies or the creation of a formidable side, able to challenge for trophies in domestic as well as continental competitions. 

As Antonio Conte prepares to take the reigns at Stamford Bridge, new hope dawns as fans can take solace in the fact that previous Italian managers have far from disappointed during their time in West London. 


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Lets take a look back into the previous four Italian managers that have occupied the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.

Gianluca Vialli

Vialli took charge of the Blues first team in 1998, a time when the Italian was still a player for the club, following Ruud Gullit's example as a player-manager at Chelsea. 

In such a unique situation, it is easy to get carried away and play yourself in most games, but Vialli was a clever tactician, playing Gianfranco Zola and Tore Andre Flo as the main strikers and making cameo appearances throughout the season himself, scoring several important goals in the process and even finishing as the club's top scorer in his first season in charge. 

During his time as manager, the Italian won a decent number of trophies including the League Cup in 1998 as well as the FA Cup and the Community Shield in 2000. 

At a time when Chelsea could barely be considered as European giants, Vialli's side managed to clinch the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup as well as the following UEFA Super Cup, beating Champions League winners Real Madrid in the process. 

Despite lurking in the shadows of English giants Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, the Blues played with immense style and passion during the Vialli era, with exciting players such as Zola, Gus Poyet, Dan Petrescu and Roberto Di Matteo dictating play. 

As a result, Vialli's place at the club has been cemented as a club legend. 

Claudio Ranieri

Labeled as the 'tinkerman', Ranieri was often criticized for making changes to his first team, regardless of the result during the previous game. 

However, that did not stop Ranieri from bringing the club out of the shadows into the Premier League spotlight. During his four season tenure, Chelsea showed signs of truly challenging the likes of United, Arsenal, Leeds United and Liverpool for the top four and even first place. 

Chelsea broke into the top four in 2003, after finishing fourth ahead of Liverpool, eventually managing to reach the group stages of the Champions League following a win in the play-offs. 

Come April of the following season, the Blues, now bankrolled by Roman Abramovich, were in contention to win both the Premier League and the Champions League, but managed to finish second in the table, only behind the 'invincibles' of Arsenal.

During the same season, Ranieri's men managed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, losing out to Monaco. 

In spite of suffering a barren spell in terms of trophies, it is safe to say that the current Leicester City manager paved the way for future success at Stamford Bridge. 

Carlo Ancelotti

This Italian manager requires very little introduction, having won numerous domestic and European honors. 

Prior to joining the Blues, Ancelotti had won virtually every competition there was to offer with AC Milan, clinching two Champions League trophies as well as the Serie A.

Just like Mourinho, the former Juventus manager won the Premier League with Chelsea during his first season in charge, the type of success expected and relished by Abramovich. 

During the same season, Ancelotti also managed to win the FA Cup, beating Portsmouth in the final at Wembley. 

The presence of world class players such as Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Deco, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Nicolas Anelka, Michael Essien, Petr Cech and Florent Malouda saw the Blues score seven goals in a game on three separate occasions, in addition to an 8-0 rout of Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season.

Ancelotti's reign saw the club break several Premier League records, including the highest number of goals scored during the season and at home; 103 and 68 respectively. 

It was not only an answer to the three year domination of the league by Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, but also an end to Chelsea's managerial chaos, having gone through four different managers during the same period.

Roberto di Matteo

Taking over as manager under tricky circumstances, the former Chelsea player took over from Andre Villas-Boas after a poor start to the season which also put the Blues on the brink of Champions League elimination against Napoli. 

In what turned out to be a miraculous season for the club, Di Matteo's side was able to turn the 3-1 deficit from the first leg at Naples to a win, the first of many inspiring performances on the way to Champions League victory. 

Chelsea went from the jaw of defeat against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, as well as against Bayern in the final of the competition at Munich, to somehow claw back into the game, eventually resulting in glory for the Blues. 

If that was not enough, the Italian also managed to clinch the FA Cup before going into the Champions League final. 

Di Matteo was sacked midway through the following season due to poor performances, but will always be remembered by the club as the first Chelsea manager to win the Champions League. 

Promising signs for Conte

If Conte follows a similar example set by former Italian managers at the club, Chelsea fans have a lot of reasons to be hopeful.

Conte himself arrives with an impressive tally of trophies at the ripe managerial age of just 46, having clinched three consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus between 2011 and 2014, the former Italy midfielder knows exactly what it takes to win the league as well as defending it. 

The Italian manager has already outlined several players that he would like to see at the Bridge and the club's prospects next season will largely depend on their success in the transfer market. 

However, looking at the success of previous Italian managers at the Bridge, Conte as well as club supporters have a source of optimism for 2016/2017. 

Where will Chelsea finish in the Premier League next season? Leave us YOUR predictions in the comment section below!

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