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?


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.

It wasn’t easy (Chelsea 3, Arsenal 1)

“We want you to stay, we want you to sta-aa-aayyy, Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay.”

Sang the Chelsea fans.

For Conte; a position of great strength. A humbling of a rival and the opportunity to reinforce any messages of his choosing.

His choice was to emphasise the qualities of his own team through praise of the opposition.

Arsenal are a “very good team, for me they are a good team, a lot of good players, technically and physically.”

This frame allows him to then praise his own players, “I am pleased for the players.”

He is pleased because they “deserved” the win and they deserved the win “as during the week and in every training session I see their desire and attitude.”

Given his own central role in training, he is not only attempting to manipulate the behaviours he wants to see from his players, but also reinforcing the security of his own position.


Success also allows him to focus on the negatives of the game.

He is led by a question, but close to half of the interview is then focused on his disappointment at conceding a goal. “It is a pity” and it demonstrates the need to “keep your concentration from the start to the end”.

The tone is in fact so critical that the interviewer feels he needs to remind and congratulate him on the win!

Leadership communication lesson

Success gives you a position of strength that should never be wasted. It can be wasted if you do not link success to the behaviours you have asked of your team or the strategy you have chosen to follow. Do not be coy, subtle or vague. Link success directly and it will help you build followership within your organisation.