Chelsea manager Antonio Conte showed his authority with the way he handled the Diego Costa transfer saga earlier in the season, according to former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas.
The Italian tactician is closing in on a well-earned Premier League title victory in his first season in charge of Chelsea, and has received plaudits all season long for his tactical approach.
Nicholas, however, believes he also deserves huge credit for the way he kept the Costa situation under control when things threatened to fall apart for the Blues in January.
Reports at the time suggested there had been a big row between Conte and Costa as the Spanish striker pushed for a big-money transfer to the Chinese Super League.
However, he ended up staying at Stamford Bridge and Nicholas says Conte’s authority shines through due to the fact that Chelsea players never complain about wanting moves away publicly.
‘The great step was how he handled Costa,’ Nicholas told Sky Sports.
‘That was a gigantic step for him. He could have gone off the rails. He could have had a problem because he had no real cover for that position.
‘He handled it so smoothly, with authority and very well controlled and within the players’ dressing room.
‘You never hear a squeal or nothing out of Chelsea anymore like “I’m not happy” or things like that.
‘They are all in it together and it’s him who’s brought them together. It’s his first season and it’s been extraordinary.’