Antonio Conte
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Blues boss is proving very popular, in fact so much so that those who previously held nothing but disdain for Chelsea are now unable to not give the football club begrudging respect –even those who have disliked it for many years.

If you make a point of following Premier League football, unless you make a regular appearance at Stamford Bridge it is more than likely that Chelsea is not your preferred side. Yet you have probably found yourself not hating them quite as much as you usually do, haven’t you?

For most people, where once the mere mention of Roman Abramovich’s club once made them want to throw up, the 2016/2017 is looking significantly more palatable, and the reason is Antonio Conte.

Although most actively despise his employers, football supporters countrywide are drawn to the Chelsea boss, and this has had a massive influence on the levels of loathing the Premier League champions elect have faced in the past.

Passion Puts Him in Everyone’s Good Graces

It is a well-known fact that English football supporters are amongst the most fervent in the world, and, if there is one thing that they are sure to respond to, it is someone else’s passion for the game.

Essentially, if a manager shows spectators enough desire, energy, commitment and fury when it comes to the touch-line, spectators will be impressed, no matter who that manager’s team may be, who the spectators in question support, or what soccer bets are on the line.

There is absolutely no shortage of zeal when it comes to Conte, and his frequent dives into the crowd at Stamford Bridge are evidence of that. This is not a tactic he has recently adopted either, in an attempt to woo English crowds: who can forget him threatening to murder his Italian players at Euro 2016?

Nothing Beats a Gracious Winner

The Chelsea bosses that came before Conte would possibly have been so immersed in the act of celebrating their team needing one more win to clinch the title that they wouldn’t even have noticed that the opponents Middlesbrough had just been relegated as a result.

Conte, on the other hand, made a particular point of soothing each and every one of the players, just before he went on to admire the away-support. It is very difficult to dislike a team under the leadership of a man presenting this amount of magnanimity.

No More Wearying Mind Games to Contend With

It seems to have become a rule: if you head up a top club of the Premier League, you simply must indulge in commentary that is disrespectful and designed to irritate, upset, and irk your managerial competitors whenever you appear at a press conference.

And, even though fans everywhere have started showing signs of increasing weariness at these tired tactics, the mind games played by managers seem to have become part of the job.

For example, Jose Mourinho’s jab about Conte’s tactics for Chelsea earlier on in the season regarding how defensive they were, has come to be seen as a matter of course.

Conte’s response was in league with his general, laudable, conduct, however, and his retort was classy and fair: he said that he was not fond of making replies to jibes from other coaches, stating that even if it were a joke it was one of poor taste.

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