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07th Aug 2018

Willian dishes the dirt on Antonio Conte’s reign at Chelsea

The pair never saw eye to eye during Conte's tenure at Chelsea, and Willian has opened up on how difficult life was under the coach at Stamford Bridge

Reuben Pinder


Chelsea became a toxic place to be under Conte

Antonio Conte was not at Chelsea for long, but his impact on the club was huge. He transformed the team from the predictable, flat, apathetic side they had become under José Mourinho into title winners, and back into a sluggish group of individuals lacking in passion.

Certain players became ostracised within the squad, David Luiz in particular, but Willian also clashed with Conte, despite his consistent form. The pair never saw eye to eye.

Willian famously posted a photo on his Instagram story of Chelsea’s FA Cup celebrations back in May and covered up Conte with trophy emojis to remove him from the picture. He has since blamed that on his daughter stealing his phone – very much the ‘dog ate my homework’ of social media gaffe excuses.


Willian has spoken with brutal honesty about life under Conte on the Brazilian TV show Resenha, explaining that he hopes Maurizio Sarri is “not the same as Conte”.

“I’m joking, I think Conte was a manager, for me, particularly, very difficult to work with. His philosophy, his logistics, to manage there, is very complicated,” he said.

“I’ve had some games that you don’t understand, you’re playing very well and are taken out, you don’t understand, twice I headed out of the game and went straight to the dressing room.

“So it was a bit difficult working with him. But in life we learn from that too.”

Willian has been linked with a move away from Chelsea this summer but now looks set to stay put. The Brazilian will play a big role under Sarri, but will face tough competition in Pedro and the 17-year-old Callum Hodson-Odoi who impressed in the community shield.

For Willian’s sake, you’d hope that Sarri’s instructions are less complicated than Conte’s.

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