Chelsea will face a tougher task to win the title again next season, but Paul Merson believes the Blues are in better hands under Antonio Conte than his predecessor Jose Mourinho.
The Italian has enjoyed a tremendously successful first campaign in England, leading Chelsea to the Premier League title with relative ease and with an FA Cup final clash against Arsenal still to come.
Merson believes defending the title is harder than winning it in the first place, as Chelsea fans will know all too well from their disastrous form last season.
After Mourinho seemingly lost the Chelsea dressing room, the Blues fell apart and went from 1st to 10th in the space of just a year, but Merson can’t see such an implosion happening under Conte.
The 47-year-old won three titles in a row at former club Juventus, leading the former Arsenal man to believe he’ll do a better job of maintaining his players’ focus and desire.
‘Defending the title is 100 times harder than winning it and the pressure will be on him next season because everyone will be gunning for Chelsea,’ Merson wrote in the Daily Star.
‘You only have to look at what happened when they won it the last time. They lost the plot and Jose Mourinho ended up with the sack.
‘It’s so hard to win it again. Players switch off and lose focus. Other teams raise their game against the champions and Chelsea will have extra games from being back in the Champions League.
‘But this manager doesn’t mess about. He doesn’t let you drop off. He churned out title after title at Juventus and everybody wanted to beat them.’