Antonio Conte will make sure his voice is heard at Tottenham
ANTONIO CONTE’s reputation for speaking out loud and clear goes back to his first job – and a megaphone.
Conte had been sacked after just nine games in Serie B Arezzo. But when he returned later in the same 2006-7 season, the current Tottenham boss had a new plan and a rather interesting way of making himself understood.
Andrea Bricca, then a midfielder at the Tuscan club, recalls: âWhen he returned in March, he even showed up on the training ground with a megaphone.
âI think he used this strategy just to not waste a single word, to make sure every instruction was clearly understood by all the players.
âThe megaphone was an example of one of the weird things Conte could do.
“But I’m sure he was convinced that with this behavior he was able to bring out the best in each of us at that time – and he was right.”
Arezzo was ten points from safety, in part thanks to a six-point deduction for his role in the match-fixing scandal that also led to Conte’s former club Juventus being relegated to Serie B.
Bricca said: âThe situation in the table was very difficult and the morale of the team was very low.
SPECIAL BET – GET SALAH TO SCORE AND LIVERPOOL TO WIN 40/1
âBut from his first words, you could tell there was something new about him – and he immediately took charge of the situation like a true leader.
âHe told us he believed in us and in Serie B survival, and that we had to believe in him and follow him, then he got down to the board and started explaining his 4-2- formation to us. 4.
âAt first we were all in disbelief, but he showed us that his strangeness was a winning quality.
âIn just a few days we were able to execute a very slippery and well-drilled 4-2-4. The megaphone strategy had really worked.
Conte’s other innovations included devising a new diet for players – and attempting to motivate them before a match by having them watch 300, the movie at the heroic Spartans stand at the Battle of Thermopylae.
He was able to bring out the best in each of us at that time
But with his eccentricities and demanding nature, the former Italian star also had a very human side.
Bricca said: “A friend of mine was unfortunately very ill and, also being a big Juventus fan, he had a big dream, to meet Antonio Conte.
“I talked about it with Mr. Conte and, without even thinking about it, he then said to me: ‘Tomorrow afternoon, we have no training, we will go to his place.’
“The next day my friend’s dream came true – at his home was the great Juventus captain Antonio Conte.”
Meanwhile, Arezzo has had an incredible run, taking eight wins and two draws from his last 11 games.
He showed us that his strangeness was a winning quality
Conte’s side were in a place for relegation play-offs until the last minute of the final day when Serie B champions Juventus, unbeaten at home all season, conceded a winner at struggling La Spezia – who ultimately survived.
Arezzo was on the ground and Conte was completely pissed off. The ex-Juve star said: “I respect the Juventus fans – but I have little respect for the team. Three cheers for our clean new game.
Bricca added: âI don’t know what happened in Turin that day. But even though until that match I had been a big fan of Juventus, from that day on, I couldn’t really be happy about their victories. “
Arezzo was eventually cleared of the match-fixing, but the city still holds a grudge.
Many fans were bitterly disappointed with Conte when he became Juventus boss in 2011.
?? Read our Football News Live Blog for the latest rumors, gossip and closed deals
But Bricca, who is starting his own coaching career as the boss of Serie C Under-19 team Gubbio, said: âWithout a doubt, I am inspired by Mr Conte, having had the opportunity to know him and learn a lot from him.
âNot only on a technical and tactical level, but also on the way to face life: ‘Always with your head held high and with courage’.
“Conte has taught me a lot, but he teaches every athlete every day that with hard work, bravery and even a little weirdness, they can achieve extraordinary results.”