Conte feels Guardiola thriving in familiar surroundings at Man City

London, Sep 24 (IANS) English football club Chelsea’s head coach Antonio Conte has taken a subtle swipe at his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola saying the perfect start to life for the Spaniard is because of the familiar personnel involved at the latter’s club.

Guardiola has won his first nine matches as City coach, while Chelsea have picked up five wins in the last seven matches.

Both newcomers were expected to take time to transition into English management, but Guardiola appears to have settled in immediately in charge.

Chelsea, by contrast, have struggled for fluency in many of their matches under Italian Conte’s stewardship.

However, the former Italy coach believes that friendlier surroundings, aided by a strong Spanish presence, meant Guardiola was always more likely to enjoy a superior start.

“I think that Manchester City are playing similar football to what they played in the past. You must see what type of tactical situation you find (when taking over a club),” Conte was quoted as saying by goal.com on Friday.

“That is because the directors of football are Spanish and they bought a lot of players who are used to this idea of football and these tactics. I think it is a bit easier for his players to get stuck into his ideas.”

Conte has undertaken a rebuilding job at Chelsea after last season’s disastrous title defence under Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink, who took over following the Portuguese’s sacking.

Embarking on the 12th coaching reign of Roman Abramovich’s 13-year ownership at Chelsea, Conte does not fear the notoriously twitchy trigger finger of the Russian billionaire.

“When you trust your work, you are never afraid (of being sacked). I am doing my work and I continue to do my work in the same way that I did in the past and in the present, continuing as usual,” Conte said.

“I am sure that if I don’t win tomorrow, if I don’t win the next game, I am sure that in the future I will win, I am sure.

“I discussed about my job with the club before I arrived to sign and before I signed I think that here and at every club before you sign or they take a new manager, it is important to speak about what work the manager did in the past.”

–IANS

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