Antonio Conte believes that Chelsea are stronger than two years ago - Do you agree?

It's a question that has come from the statement made by Antonio Conte in his pre-match press conference that took place at Cobham ye...

It's a question that has come from the statement made by Antonio Conte in his pre-match press conference that took place at Cobham yesterday afternoon. 

Having inherited a squad that had finished in 10th place two seasons ago, he was keen to point out that this season should not be judged as a write-off. He said:

“We worked two years, and worked very hard, to try to build something, to create a base. I think we did this … There are six top teams at the start of the season ready to fight for a place in the Champions League. It [not qualifying] can happen. In the past it happened. Don’t forget two years ago, Chelsea ended the season 10th and not in the FA Cup final, not in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and they were eliminated in the last 16 against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Last season, after a 10th-place finish, we won the league. Now, probably, you can finish fifth and start with a bit of an advantage compared to when you finish 10th.”

Antonio Conte was also quick to remind everyone that last season Manchester United finished sixth which is an important point because as he says, the top six teams are so strong now with each of us battling for four positions at the top of the Premier League.

I agree that as a squad we are stronger than the squad we had two years ago, before he was here at Chelsea. We have lowered the average age of the squad down, we have invested in good players at a time where they are only going to improve with experience and we still have the potential to beat anyone on our day. Do I think we have the base to build a side that can challenge for the league next season? With a couple of good additions - Yes.

However, what we DO NOT have here anymore is someone who is the natural leader that we have gotten so used to having in John Terry. We do not have someone of such influence that can literally grab his team mates and demand better, to demand that they give everything and to provide inspiration.

This season we have seen the Captaincy chop and change between Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta when Cahill has been dropped or left out of the side due to rotation. We need the head-coach/manager who is in charge next season to come in, make a decision and stick with it. If that is to promote "Dave" then so be it. He is a leader but has a very different style. He isn't going to dig anyone out on the pitch because he relies on setting the benchmark with his attitude to games and training.

So the conclusion for me is Yes we have a better squad and are in a better position than two seasons ago but, money cannot buy you Leadership of the kind we have been used to. This team is crying out for a natural leader and for that reason we aren't.

What do you people think?

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