Whatever the current Premier League table may suggest, it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
Rewind back to September, and the Blues had lost consecutive games against Liverpool and Arsenal.
The rumour mill was even hinting his job was under threat, the notoriously impatient Roman Abramovich refusing to wait through another season of transition.
Fast forward a few months and we’re at January. A regular day at Cobham is interrupted by a furious row between the manager and Diego Costa, who has had his head turned by the prospect of a big-money move to China. The controversial striker then has to be dropped for the upcoming game against Leicester.
These are the obvious negatives. Other than that, it has been pretty straightforward for the former Juventus man.
A title beckons in his first season in charge, and English football continues to marvel at the success of his 3-4-3 formation, so much so that several other teams are now trying to emulate him.
It’s about time there was a spanner in the works to ensure the season stays interesting for just a little longer.
Hence, Conte was the subject of rumours that his family were unhappy living in London, and that he felt he had unfinished business back in his homeland, where Inter Milan could be looking for a new manager this summer.
The Daily Mail have it that Chelsea chiefs have no concerns about this whatsoever.
It seems ludicrous to think of Conte leaving the champions-to-be, but stranger things have happened.
Yet, sources have told the newspaper that the Italian has a good relationship with Abramovich.
We would say there’s no smoke without fire, but in reality, this could just be a malicious rumour aimed at knocking Chelsea off their stride.