Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola never had any doubts that his compatriot Antonio Conte would be a success at Stamford Bridge because winning is “in his blood”.
Conte has impressed in his first few months managing in England, with the former Italy and Juventus boss having led Chelsea – who finished last season in a lowly 10th place – to their current position atop the Premier League standings.
Such has been his impact on the club that his players have publicly praised his coaching methods and football knowledge while his influence on the squad has been easy to see on the pitch – with the Blues having tightened up their defence and become more clinical in front of goal this term.
And Zola, who remains good friends with Conte, admits the 47-year-old is thriving in the England because the Chelsea players are feeding off his passion for winning.
“I had no doubt Antonio was going to do a good job for Chelsea,” Zola told The Sun.
“If you have that kind of passion, it is like adding salt to the meal — and that makes it a little bit tastier. It is the same for Antonio and Chelsea.
“I know Antonio’s value. Over the years, I’ve seen how well he works. The only question I had was if his methods were going to stick with the players quickly because Antonio is quite intense.
“But everyone at Chelsea has bought into it. If the players can feel that passion, then they are more fired up.
“There is no doubt Antonio is a winner.
“Winning is in his blood. He’s in great shape and I really hope they can continue.”
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