It is my fault (Man U 2, Chelsea 0)

Do we now have a title race?

Probably not.

As Souness explained, title-winning teams react to bad defeats.

Indeed, to win the title you need to win many more matches than you lose. Who knew?

Capture

Conte knows, however, the reason for this latest defeat.

Man U have “shown more desire than us, more motivation.”

And the fault is his own. “I wasn’t able to transfer the right desire & motivation.”

What Chelsea need from now until the end of the season is “great enthusiasm, great passion, great ambition and great ambition.”

It is stirring stuff and if you think Conte struggles with his English (G. Neville) you are wrong.

He achieves this rhetorical effect though the use of Anaphora – the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses.

We even have a wonderful use of Occultatio in the interview – the calling attention to material while pretending you’re not going to talk about it.

Invited to comment on a handball Conte replies, “It is the same at Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Stoke City. I don’t want to talk about this situation – but it happens frequently.”

Whatever else Chelsea have to worry about this season, their managers command of the English language will not be one of their concerns.

Leadership communication lesson

When to acknowledge mistakes as a leader is a constant challenge. Taking responsibility for a mistake can strengthen trust within your team and is expected from a leader. As Conte demonstrates, however, timing is everything. Chelsea are top of the league. This allows him to be publicly critical of his own decisions. A leader should acknowledge mistakes from a position of strength. If you are not yet in that position of strength, discretion is likely to be the better course.

The Top 4 is a Trophy (Arsenal 2, Man City 2)

“I will not stop because retirement equals death.”

If you thought Wenger was already under pressure then this quote in the build up to the match caused a double-take.

The failure of the referee to spot an infringement means Wenger dodges the grim-reaper for the moment.

Mental strength is the theme of Wenger’s post-match interview.

The team was “ready for a fight”, “on the mental front it was a very strong performance.” and “for us the test was mental”. “Mentally it has a positive impact on our team”.

wengerapr

This mental victory is the counter-balance for the fact that “mathematically you could say it is not good for them (City) or for us (Arsenal).”

Indeed. League tables can be frustratingly mathematical.

How tough will it be to make the top 4?

For Wenger it will be tough.

He illustrates this by quoting a young manager who has said that in England to be in the top 4 is a trophy because it is so difficult.

The stick that has been used to beat Wenger mercilessly during the 13 years since they last won the title is  effortlessly broken across his knee with this comment.

The young manager in question?

Guardiola.

Leadership communication lesson

The  Enthymeme is a logic sandwich any leader needs to get to grips with to win their arguments. It takes a belief of the audience and uses it to help convince them. If your assumption is that Guardiola is a great manager, then if he thinks a top 4 finish is a trophy, you are logically forced to recognise Wenger’s achievements.  A leader needs to find and understand the assumptions of their audience. Basing your arguments on these assumptions is the strongest way to win any argument.