Grading the managers on the Abramovich-era coaching carousel

Sunday’s loss at home to Tottenham was as damning a result as Antonio Conte could weather, with all signs pointing to a summer exit for the current Chelsea boss.

The 14th managerial spell under Roman Abramovich’s watch, Conte is the 11th Blues boss to capture major honours with the west London lot, and the sixth to do so since the billionaire business tycoon took over in 2003.

Chelsea has come a long way since Ted Drake’s influential nine-year tenure in the 50s yielded the club’s first piece of silverware, and with that rise up the ladder of European football, Stamford Bridge has become a short-term destination for the sport’s marquee managers.

Not counting Guus Hiddink’s two interim spells, Rafa Benitez’s six-month Europa League-winning stretch, or quick caretaker gigs for Ray Wilkins and Steve Holland, eight managers have run the ship on a full-time basis during the Abramovich era.

With Conte’s current tenure seemingly nearing its resolution, here’s a look at how the Italian ranks among his peers:

Claudio Ranieri

In charge from September 2000 to May 2004, the “Tinkerman” was at the helm during Abramovich’s arrival, and with it came a transitional phase that witnessed the likable Italian guide the club to records for fewest goals conceded in a league campaign and highest points total. Chelsea did not win a trophy under Ranieri, but the Rome-born gaffer did construct a squad that would win two Premier League titles under his “Special One” successor.

Number of trophies: 0

Grade: B-

Jose Mourinho

Owner of the top job on two spells from June 2004 to September 2007 and from June 2013 through December 2015, Mourinho’s tenures saw Chelsea pair three league titles with a trio of league cups and the 2006-07 FA Cup. He guided the Blues to their first top-flight title since 1955 before falling out with Abramovich. Mourinho became a lightning rod for derision in his second stint, slumping to a shocking 10th-placed finish in 2015-16.

Number of trophies: 7

Grade: A

Avram Grant

Personal friend of Abramovich, Grant was named director of football in July 2007 before taking over from Mourinho in September. Sacked in May 2008, the former Israel manager was a shock hiring whose arrival was met with reported criticism from players doubting the gaffer’s chops. Chelsea won two-thirds of its 54 matches under Grant, finishing second in the league before losing the Champions League final on penalties to Manchester United.

Number of trophies: 0

Grade: C+

Luiz Felipe Scolari

A big-name appointment hired to quell the post-Grant resentment, Scolari was in charge for a seven-month stretch from July 2008 to February 2009. The Brazilian underwhelmed before being replaced by Wilkins. The first World Cup-winning tactician to manage in the Premier League, Scolari was at the helm for a 36-match spell before becoming a symbol of Abramovich’s noted intolerance and impatience.

Number of trophies: 0

Grade: D

Carlo Ancelotti

With the wounds from the Champions League final’s defeat still fresh, Abramovich opted for a manager with a history of success on the continent. In stepped Ancelotti, whose spell from June 2009 to May 2011 saw Chelsea win the league and FA Cup in 2009-10. Europe’s big prize continued to elude the Blues under the Italian, with a last-16 exit versus Mourinho’s Inter followed by quarter-final dismissal to United.

Number of trophies: 2

Grade: B+

Andre Villas-Boas

Abramovich again elected to employ a Portuguese boss who had tasted success at Porto when he hired Villas-Boas in June 2011 by paying the Primeira Liga giant a world-record £13.3-million fee. A perfect preseason boosted the relatively young gaffer’s profile, but it was all for naught as successive derby defeats to Arsenal and QPR in October set the table for a March sacking following a drab away loss at West Brom.

Number of trophies: 0

Grade: C

Roberto Di Matteo

Hired on a short-term basis, former long-serving Chelsea midfielder Di Matteo forced Abramovich’s hand when he led the Blues to the 2011-12 Champions league, the club’s first continental conquest. Winning the FA Cup didn’t hurt Di Matteo’s chances either, though the Italian always appeared to be working on borrowed time. He was sacked in November 2012 courtesy of a lopsided loss to Juventus, eight months after succeeding Villas-Boas.

Number of trophies: 2

Grade: A-

Antonio Conte

The fourth Italian to serve on a full-time basis under Abramovich, Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge in July 2016 on the heels of a Scudetto three-peat at Juventus and a two-year spell in charge of the Azzurri. Despite winning the title last season, Chelsea is now 33 points adrift of Manchester City with just the FA Cup to contest. A lack of autonomy on transfers under Marina Granovskaia’s watch prompts Conte’s probable exit.

Number of trophies: 1

Grade: B+

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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