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19th Dec 2016

Antonio Conte’s Christmas gesture proves how hard he’s working to mend Mourinho’s broken fences

It's all paying off with Chelsea's results

Rob Burnett

Antonio Conte has not just re-shaped Jose Mourinho’s tired Chelsea side into a team of stone cold winners, he’s also working hard to mend fences behind the scenes at the club.

This time last year Mourinho had just been sacked after a shocking half of the season which saw the then reigning champions languishing in the bottom half of the table.

And insiders told of a mood of fear and loathing among staff at the club as the Portuguese boss looked for conspiracy at every turn and even accused the players of betraying him.

But under Conte this term the Blues sit top of the Premier League after going on an 11 match winning run.

A change in formation has been crucial to the team’s resurgence, but there are signs that improved harmony among the back room staff is also helping.

Last week the club held their annual Christmas party for the support staff including security officers, receptionists and admin workers from Stamford Bridge and the Cobham training ground.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea (C) celebrates his sides win after the game during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on December 17, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Usually at this event the staff are shown a pre-recorded video from the club’s first team manager thanking them for their hard work.

But this year Italian boss Conte decided to attend the party in person. In a sign of how hard he is working to engender a better mood around the club, he gave a speech to the staff. And this was no flying visit – he stayed for around two hours according to Matt Law of the Telegraph.

Law reports that the last Blues boss to attend the Christmas do was Carlo Ancelotti.

Speaking of his work to improve moral at the club, Conte said: “After the defeat against Liverpool and also against Arsenal, it changed something in me, in the players, in the club, I think.

“We understood the way to go and have a different season, compared to last season. It was different. For this reason, we found the right solution, formation, but also to improve the quality of the work in all aspects. After these two bad games, we changed a lot.

“Now, the best thing you can see is players with great talent, with great commitment, putting their talent into the team. It’s fantastic for me, but also for the fans, to see this commitment, this will to fight for every ball. This is fantastic.”

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