Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink has insisted that Antonio Conte will be under pressure to mount an immediate Premier League title charge next season.
The Dutchman has been in charge at Stamford Bridge since the sacking of Jose Mourinho last December, but will step aside at the end of the season for Conte’s arrival.
While the former Juventus boss has his immediate focus on Euro 2016 as he hopes to guide Italy to the latter stages of the tournament, he will quickly switch his attention to preparing his new side for next year.
Given Chelsea’s success in recent years both at home and abroad, expectations will be high as the Italian looks to return to club management and be equally as influential as he was in Turin.
However, what he perhaps didn’t need, despite the fact that Hiddink is merely stating the obvious, is his predecessor piling the pressure on him and insisting that he needs to challenge for the league title immediately.
“The pressure is on. We have to see Chelsea next year again fighting for the title and being on top,” Hiddink said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“There are many teams fighting for the title. Five, six clubs must always express their desire for the title, including Chelsea.”
Given that this will be Conte’s first year coaching outside of Italy, he will need time to adjust and become accustomed to the tempo, intensity and tactical side of the English game.
Furthermore, he could look to make changes to the squad this summer in order to stamp his own mark at Stamford Bridge, and that could come with its own complications as it may take any new signings time to settle in.
His track record would suggest that he can make an immediate impact and instil a new level of desire and motivation in his players. However, he will perhaps need a little time and patience before we see the best of him and his team.