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Gus Poyet with a warning for Chelsea as Antonio Conte is linked with return to Italy job

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea legend Gus Poyet has urged his former club to do all they can to hang on to manager Antonio Conte, amid increasing rumours that he will be offered the chance to return as Italy national team boss next summer.

Despite guiding Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season with the club, speculation suggesting Conte was ready to quit the club and return to his Italian homeland refuses to disperse, with Poyet fearing history could repeat itself at Stamford Bridge this season.

“Every year after Chelsea win the league something changes,” Poyet told BetStars.

“They’ve had a lot of successful managers but for whatever reason the year after (they win the league) they’ve been quite difficult to manage.

“I think it was a difficult summer for Chelsea. The idea of being champions and one simple thing like changing your striker influenced the team in an incredible way.

“We don’t know what happened with Diego Costa, Conte and everyone. There were decisions made and when you’re at a club like Chelsea, you’re looking for certain special players and there are a few who are still adapting and trying to get into the system.

“If I remember last season, Chelsea had a spell when they weren’t doing so well and then they changed the system and went to  five at the back and they became really strong and found the balance to both defend well and create plenty of chances.

“I think this year there is not a clear first XI at Chelsea and they have paid the price for that, especially playing so many games in both the Champions League and Premier League.

“That is why Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Conte have all found it difficult the season after winning the league. It’s something new so they need to be calm and trust the managers and players.

“I hope so for many reasons it is different this time. You want to prevent a situation like with Jose Mourinho, winning the league twice and then leaving, as he did in his second spell.

“Ancelotti winning the league and then leaving, Roberto Di Matteo winning the Champions League and then leaving, but it looks like the opposite at the moment – it’s better not to win as you can stay longer! Every club works in a different manner and Chelsea is a special club.”

Poyet has backed Chelsea to record a 2-1 win in Saturday’s intriguing Premier League clash against Liverpool at Anfield, as he backed Eden Hazard to be the Blues match winner.

“For Hazard to be a really top player he has to have consistency – a player of his ability and qualities, creating chances, he needs to be playing at a different level,” added Poyet.

“I think he was getting better at Chelsea until he was voted the best player in the Premier League, after that it was difficult for him to maintain that level, and I think now with time he is once again reaching that level.

“It’s a matter of experience, growing and accepting the responsibility to be more consistent and if he achieves that he can get close to the big players in the world very soon, I hope.”

Gus Poyet has made the Big Call with online betting site BetStars. He is backing Chelsea to beat Liverpool 2-1. #Callit at BetStars

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