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Sarri vs Conte - Who Deserves More Respect?

A philosophy can be defined as “a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.” With both managers, neither insta...

A philosophy can be defined as “a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.” With both managers, neither installed a philosophy that guides behaviour but a strict routine that controls behaviour. Due to the success achieved and the connection with the fans Antonio Conte undoubtedly deserves far more respect than Maurizio Sarri.

How different are they?

Despite dividing the fanbase due to the perceptions created, they’re not very different at all.

Both rely on a system but have shown some flexibility, Conte starting with a 4-3-3 before switching between a 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 and Sarri who only used a 4-3-3 with us has shown he can use a 4-4-2 diamond with Juventus to accommodate Ronaldo.

Their Coaching methods don’t differ either as both rely heavily on pre-rehearsed circuits taking decision making away from players, albeit Conte implemented more circuits at Chelsea which made us harder to figure out. These sessions can be long and boring for players with lots of standing around being lectured at.

Their man-management style appears to differ slightly as Conte seems more of a ruthless army general who would do anything to win. Sarri seemed to be less intense and subsequently didn’t come across as close with his players as Conte did.  

Conte deals with the supporters far better than Sarri who refuses to ever go onto the pitch after a game due to a superstition. Conte had the supporters eating out of his hand ever since he dived into the crowd following Costa’s winner against West Ham. It was a regular occurrence for chants of ‘Antonio Antonio Antonio’ to ring out under his tenure as we showed our appreciation. Sarri got on with the fans very well at the beginning as we started very well and Sarriball looked promising against Arsenal in attack with some lovely flowing attacks. Personally, I felt he related to us especially when he called out the players publicly after a defeat against Arsenal questioning their motivation levels. But as the season progressed and the results and performances led to boring games and bad results Sarri appeared more distant and stubborn. Ultimately leading to chants of ‘F*** Sarriball’ ringing out during an FA Cup clash with Manchester United and being repeated throughout the season.  

They dealt with the press differently with Conte reiterating the word ‘Work’ on repeat using it 14 times in his opening press conference. He also spoke more about suffering in games compared to Sarri. Sarri also preferred to talk about if he was seeing his style of football or not using words like ‘philosophy’ a lot more and promising to bring the ‘fun’ back to Stamford bridge. Conte did continue to work and the team continued to suffer as the second season progressed and Sarri’s philosophy was actually more of a system built around Jorginho which involved everyone following strict orders no matter if we’re winning 2-0 or losing 6-0, doesn’t sound like a philosophy or fun for that matter.

Who achieved more success with us?

Conte won the league and FA Cup but missed out on top 4. Overachieved the first season but underachieved in his second half of the second season. Sarri got 3rd but with only 2 more points than Conte’s final season.

Clearly, Conte steamrolling the league in his first season outweighs anything Sarri achieved but lots of the bad feeling towards Conte comes as a result of our second season where we managed 70 points, scored 62 goals and conceded 38. Compared to Sarri’s season where we got 72 points, scoring 63 and conceding 39. The main difference being we averaged more possession and made more passes under Sarri.

Transfer dealings?

Conte didn’t always get who he wanted and sulked. Now we’re trying to get rid of them.  In two seasons we brought in Batshauyi £32mil, Kante £32mil, Luiz £32mil, Alonso £21mil, Morata £58mil, Bakayoko £36mil, Drinkwater £34mil, Rudiger £31mil, Zappacosta £22mil, Emerson £18mil, Giroud £15mil and Barkley £15mil. We also sold Oscar £54mil, Salah £13mil, Mikel free, Ivanovic free, Costa £60mil, Matic £40mil, Ake £20mi, Cuadrado £18mil, Begovic £10mil and Terry free. The first season’s transfers were far more successful than the second seasons’. But it appeared Conte wanted Lukaku, Sandro, Van Dijk, Romagnoli, Koulibaly, Vidal and only wanted Bakayoko as a back up to Matic. They would have been more expensive signings for sure but even signing Lukaku instead of Morata and Sandro instead of Emerson would have made a huge difference in the long run.

Sarri did get who he wanted, now we’re trying to get rid of them. 2018-19 we brought in Kepa £72mil, Jorginho £52mil and Higuain on Loan. And sold Courtois £32mil, Fabregas £8mil. We were also linked with Insigne, Mertens, Allan, Hysaj and Kouliably. Not to mention a pursuit of Barella as a Fabregas replacement, although I imagine he would have actually been a long-term replacement for Kante. Those players would have made us more like Napoli but other than Kouliably wouldn’t have made us better in the long run.

Who left us in a better position? 

Both managers left us with lots of players who suited their system and style of play. Conte with wing-backs and Sarri with a deep-lying midfielder and a Goalkeeper who was bought due to his ability with the ball at his feet. Conte left players fed up of rigorous and repetitive training sessions along with the mental exhaustion of playing under a coach as intense and meticulous as Conte. Sarri left us with players fed up of rigorous and repetitive training sessions along with the mental exhaustion of playing under a coach who didn’t allow players to change what they did no matter what… even 6-0 down.
They also left us with trophies importantly. Conte winning the league and the FA Cup and Sarri pulling off a masterclass in the Europa League final.  

Who deserves more respect?

Undoubtedly Antonio Conte.

Stream rolling the league with a formation rarely used in the Premier League and achieving over 90 points is remarkable. Not to mention finishing higher than Pochettino, Mourinho, Klopp and Pep. I know things ended sourly with missing out on top 4 and the tribunal case that followed his dismissal. But the case was because we refused to pay the fee for sacking him, what did we expect? His impact is still clear to see now with many teams still using a back 3. Yet it is still only us who on occasions use their most defensive midfielder high up the pitch in an attacking role so a deep-lying midfielder can play as well. Wonder why that hasn’t caught on?

Written by - @BenBell98
Edit by - @KristenPulisic

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