Attacking tactics and a love for English football, Antonio Conte fits the bill for Newcastle United

Could it really be possible that Newcastle leap from Steve Bruce to someone who has steered teams to Serie A and Premier League titles? Apparently so.

Antonio Conte is now part of the discussion among pundits and bookies as to who will be the next Newcastle manager, and the good news is he’s available.

The 52-year-old Italian spent his career playing in midfield, becoming a legend for Juventus, where he won the Champions League and five Serie A titles.

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He had a bumpy road into management in the early 2000s, with a difficult stint at Arezzo, success at Bari, then being hounded out of Atalanta by ultras.

Next he got Siena promoted, which was when his beloved Juventus made the call in 2011. He became the manager of his former club and in his first season in charge Juventus won the league without losing a match.

What he was famous for was bringing back the once-popular 3-5-2 formation, utilising wingbacks, two box-to-box midfielders, and a playmaker in the middle: Andrea Pirlo. That kind of staffing helps any system.

Also helping things along were Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, and Andrea Barzagli in the back three, a solid foundation that Conte looks for in all his teams.

Juventus went on to win Serie A two more times in a row, but what Conte couldn’t get his team to do was become a dominant force in Europe.

He resigned in 2014, becoming manager of Italy the following month. Under his stewardship the side played a few different formations, and not all fans were happy with how it went, but it was still 3-5-2 that he favoured.

Conte signed on to do two years of duty with Italy, so when they were knocked out of Euro 2016 by Germany on penalties in the quarter finals his tenure ended.

Next up he was hired by Roman Abramovich in 2016 to manage Chelsea, where he won three consecutive Premier League Manager of the Month awards in his first season. Fans loved what their team was doing.

Conte said at the time: “This type of atmosphere only happens in England and it was fantastic. I hope to experience it again many times in the future.”

The team played entertaining, attacking football, and were a joy to watch for fans of any team. Chelsea went on to win the league that season, setting a record with 30 wins, which was bettered by Manchester City the following season.

Antonio Conte waves to Inter fans

The following year was when the wheels came off: Conte seemed frustrated, and although Chelsea won the FA Cup final, they finished fifth in the league, 30 points behind Manchester City. No Champions League football.

As a result, Conte was fired, and it wasn’t until a year later that he returned to football, taking the reins at Inter Milan. Inter finished second in his first season in 2020, but earlier this year Inter won the title for the first time in eleven years.

Then in summer the club released a statement: “FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Antonio Conte for the termination of his contract by mutual consent.

“The Club would like to thank Antonio for the extraordinary work that he has done, culminating in Inter’s 19th top-flight title. Antonio Conte will forever remain a part of our Club’s history.”

Apparently the club was financially strained and wanted to sell players, whereas Conte wanted the best players that money could buy.

While at Inter Conte used his familiar 3-5-2 system, with wingbacks and two strikers, in this case Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku, before Lukaku was sold to Chelsea.

The idea, as with all Conte sides, was to get the ball forward quickly, whether with a direct ball or carried forward by one of those box-to-box midfielders or a wingback, before the opposition could get set.

Meanwhile, when the opposition had the ball his team would be aggressive, pressing high and pressing quickly, which is why he puts such pressure on his players to train right and live right.

According to reports he can be a tough manager, something which Lukaku said he was on the receiving end once, but Lukaku also credited Conte with helping him achieve his potential at Inter.

Pirlo also revealed Conte’s personality, recalling the manager’s words when he first arrived at Juventus in 2011: “Lads, we’ve finished seventh each of the last two seasons. Crazy stuff; absolutely appalling. I’ve not come here for that. It’s time we stopped being crap.”

Sounds perfect.

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About the author: Mark Witcher

Typical thinker. Devoted web specialist. Friendly troublemaker. Zombie maven. Music junkie. Twitter guru.

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