Aug 15, 2016

    Conte doesn't want his sleep to be Hammer-ed


    ANTONIO Conte hopes his first taste of the Premier League does not end in another sleepless night as Chelsea's manager starts a new era at Stamford Bridge tonight.

    He is eagerly awaiting his introduction to the English game after spells as Juventus and Italy coach. But the renowned perfectionist knows he is in for a long night of soul searching if the Blues come unstuck against London rivals West Ham.

    Revealing he rarely sleeps more than a few hours before a match as he finds himself mulling over tactical decisions, Conte said the frustration of defeat lingers so long that he will hardly sleep following a loss.

    "Usually I don't sleep a lot before the games, two, three, four hours, then when I wake up I start to think about the game. By the morning, I have the tactical ideas," he added.

    "After the game when I win, I sleep easily, when I don't win, it's very difficult.

    "At night, I think why we lost, sometimes I watched the game again.

    "Where is the situation that is difficult, who are the players who were difficult, was our tactical plan good or not good."

    Although Conte enjoyed a trophy-laden reign with Juventus, he rarely feels fully satisfied. And it was no different with Italy, whose Euro 2016 defeats against the Republic of Ireland and Germany provoked long nights of tossing and turning under the sheets.

    It is that passion that made Conte an appealing choice for owner Roman Abramovich whose club ended a dismal 10th last season.

    Conte has arrived to find a squad of fragile egos looking for inspiration and leadership following the breakdown of their relationship with former boss Jose Mourinho.

    He should give debuts to new signings N'Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi against the Hammers.

    West Ham manager Slaven Bilic hopes Andre Ayew, a £20 million (S$35 million) signing, will add more dynamism to his side's attack.

    Ayew and former Marseille team-mate Dimitri Payet will be key to West Ham's bid to improve on their seventh spot finish last season.

    "We had a really good season so we didn't have the need to start from the bottom but there are no yesterdays in football," Bilic said.



    Chelsea v West Ham