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New Chelsea manager: Who is Antonio Conte?
Chelsea appointing Italy boss Antonio Conte as Jose Mourinho’s long-term replacement does not make sense, says ex-Blues striker Chris Sutton.
Mourinho, 53, was sacked in December amid suggestions he had fallen out with several senior players.
Conte, who arrives with a reputation as a disciplinarian, will take over in the summer after signing a three-year deal.
“If he comes in and starts hitting the players with a whip are they going to respond?” said Sutton.
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Under Mourinho, Chelsea won the Premier League title by eight points last season and also lifted the League Cup.
But they lost nine of their opening 16 league games this term and were 16th in the table, one point above the relegation places, when Mourinho was sacked.
Former Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink, who was appointed as Mourinho’s replacement until the end of the season, has not lost any of his 15 league games in charge.
However, the Blues have turned to Conte – who will arrive after Euro 2016 – as their new long-term head coach.
“Chelsea have a good option of keeping Hiddink,” Sutton, 43, added on BBC Radio 5 live. “It is working under him – the team have improved beyond all recognition.
“Bringing in a similar type of manager to Mourinho in Conte doesn’t make any sense to me.
“If the players have downed tools before there is every suggestion that, with Conte coming in and being a similar type to Mourinho, they will down tools again if things aren’t going well.”
Antonio Conte will take over at Chelsea in the summer
Conte led Juventus to their first silverware following a match-fixing scandal after taking over in 2011
‘Conte similar to Mourinho at his very best’
Conte won the Serie A title in each of his three years as Juventus boss, before leaving to take over the Italy national team in 2014.
And former Chelsea players Andy Townsend and Pat Nevin both believe the Blues have made a “good appointment”.
“I don’t think Conte will be far removed from what Jose was like at his very best,” said former Republic of Ireland midfielder Townsend.
“Jose captured the attention of the players when he arrived. There was an intensity about what he did, the players responded and enjoyed working under that sort of regime.
“I feel Conte will do the same.”
Ex-Scotland winger Nevin added: “People think of him as a one-system manager. He’s not. He’s always been very adaptable.
“Chelsea are going through a serious transitional period and he’s got to sort it out.”