Mar 9, 2017 13:29:31
The Blues boss has shocked everyone with his transformation of a club that finished tenth last season, but how does his achievement compare to Jose's?
Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho prepare to do battle for the second time since the Chelsea manager came to English football, as the Blues take on Mourinho's Manchester United in the FA Cup.
After Manchester City's 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City, Chelsea's gap at the top of the Premier League stays at 10 points with only 11 games left to play. Conte's side look to have constructed an unassailable lead, but how does his first season stack up against Mourinho's maiden term at Stamford Bridge?
Mourinho's 2004-05 league-winning Chelsea side broke a host of records as the "Special One" masterminded the club's first title triumph for 50 years. That season, the Londoners smashed the record points total for a Premier League season with 95 points. They also claimed the most clean sheets kept in a season (25), most wins in a season (29) and most consecutive away wins (9).
Chelsea had the likes of Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard in their line up and averaged 2.5 points per game in 2004-05. Conte's Chelsea currently average 2.44 points per game and they would have to increase their win percentage to break Mourinho's record.
The current Blues have amassed 66 points after match-week 27, with 21 wins, three draws and three defeats. At the same point in Mourinho's first season at the club, Chelsea had 68 points after 21 wins, five draws and only one defeat.
Mourinho had a similar points cushion to Conte's side with a nine-point gap, but the Portuguese only had to contend with Manchester United aiming to spoil the party. Conte's men are being hotly pursued by Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, both 10 points behind.
Unfortunately for Conte, Mourinho's first season comes out on top in terms of points earned and the former Porto coach would beat that total again, as he won back-to-back titles by earning 69 points after the 27th game as they beat Portsmouth 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
However, Mourinho's title-winning team in 2014-15 managed only 63 points by match-week 27 and Man City were only five points behind the west London club.
These records don't prove that Mourinho is the better manager alone, but it does show that he deserves continued respect as he returns to his former club in the FA Cup on Monday.
Conte could point to the fact that his Chelsea side have not spent as lavishly as any of Mourinho's champions, while Mourinho went up against history to claim the club's first title, something that has been the catalyst for continued success at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho has never had to pick up a team from tenth place and turn them into champions as Conte is aiming to do after his predecessor's winter implosion at the club last season. Conte has previous experience of this and in his first season at Juventus, he took a depressed Juventus side from seventh to top in less than a year.
Chelsea still have work to do before they can repeat or better the recent history that Mourinho wrote and Man United's eight-point gap in April 2012 is a cautionary tale that Man City can claw back a lead. However, it is hard not to get the feeling that Conte is another "Special One" at Stamford Bridge.