Gary Neville praised the Chelsea title winning side after they secured the title against West Brom on Friday night.
It is rare you hear a Manchester United fan or former player compliment one of their rivals, but Neville was open to praising Chelsea and Antonio Conte after they wrapped up the Premier League title race with a late goal from Michy Batyshuayi confirming the title would return to Stamford Bridge.
Neville was particularly complimentary about the strong relationship Antonio Conte has with his players, claiming that Conte has caused the players to “re-engage” with the club.
Whilst it must be painful for Neville as a Manchester United man to see one of the clubs big rivals do so well while his own side have struggled in recent times, he seems to have no problem with praising a side that really does deserve to lift the trophy.
“You can see the camaraderie that exists between Antonio Conte and his players,” Neville said. “Last season, Jose Mourinho’s team look disinterested but they’ve re-engaged with the club, the manager, the system and the style of play.
“The players have benefitted from the free weeks of training. You can imagine the hours and hours of shape; a very methodical way of working. When you try something on the training pitch and it comes to fruition on a Saturday, the players start to trust you and it builds confidence
“It doesn’t take a lot for our cameras to make a manager look a little panicky and nervous. Earlier on in the season, Pep Guardiola was looking like a confident manager and Conte looked a little bit ruffled. Then, all of a sudden, it started to turn, with Pep starting to look a bit more ruffled while Conte looked like a genius.
“Conte has found a system and found a group of players who stay fit. They’ve got consistency – they’ve had the reliability throughout with the same back five and goalkeeper, the same midfield and the same front three.
“I’ve never seen a team win the Premier League without strength and power. Costa, Matic, Kante, David Luiz, Cahill – that spine is strong. It withstood the onslaught that West Brom posed, but it can also break down more subtle teams.
“They can play different types of games and adapt. They looked like champions halfway through the season as I didn’t see any weaknesses. They’ve built relationships – that will be challenged next season but now’s not the time to talk about that.
“It’s time to glorify what Chelsea have achieved. You can win all the cups you want, but there’s nothing like winning the Premier League title. It has to be a priority.”
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