More than three months after he was officially appointed to succeed interim boss Guus Hiddink, Chelsea supporters finally got the chance to welcome new manager Antonio Conte to Stamford Bridge on Thursday (14 July), when he faced the glare of the British media for the first time.
It has been something of a whirlwind summer for the ex-Juventus legend, who has had to recover swiftly from Italy's Euro 2016 quarter-final defeat to Germany and shift his focus to plotting how exactly he plans to restore the deposed Premier League champions to their former glory after a disastrous 10th-place finish.
IBTimes UK were among the many in attendance for Conte's official unveiling in west London. Here are four key things we learned from that intriguing opening session...
Chelsea have a lot of hard work to come
By his own admission far from the most talented midfielder during his playing days, Conte nevertheless made himself an indispensable figure at both Lecce and Juventus with an insatiable work ethic and a burning desire to succeed. That has carried over to his managerial career, where he demands a similar battling and unwavering commitment from his players.
Sheer graft was a constant theme of his first media briefing and Conte stressed the need to work "very hard every day, every week, every month to be something important". He insisted he will focus on all aspects from the technical to the tactical, mental and physical. Double training sessions during his first week at Cobham, while certainly not unusual during the early stages of pre-season, show that he prioritises fitness and will not settle for anything less than 100%.
Among the best lines offered by the 46-year-old were his admission that he has returned to club management to "breathe the grass" and that he hoped there was a small flame flickering at Chelsea that can eventually grow into a "blazing inferno".
Conte targeting up to three major signings
Although Conte declined to divulge the identity of any specific transfer targets due to his obvious distaste for when rival managers openly discuss his charges, he nevertheless left the door open for "one, two or three players" to join Chelsea over the coming days. If rampant speculation is to be believed, N'Golo Kante sits at the top of that list.
The France international proved a revelation for surprise Premier League champions Leicester City following his move from Caen last summer and is now set to decide his future after that final disappointment in Euro 2016. The Foxes are said to have offered him a new four-year deal to ward off any big-name suitors, although it remains to be seen if that will have any sway. Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, Santos forward Gabriel, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and in-demand Spanish striker Alvaro Morata are also said to be of significant interest. A proposed move for Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan looks to have fallen by the wayside.
The touchline antics are here to stay
Conte's flamboyant and passionate technical area histrionics made him one of the stars of the Euros. If he was not mounting the dugout in wild and jubilant celebration, then he was booting the ball away in frustration, barking at referees or routinely lambasting players in harsh tones. To put it simply, he lives and breathes every second of the game and is powerless to prevent his passions from spilling over.
"I suffer during the game," was how he put it at the press conference. Conte describes his touchline antics as an attempt to transfer that passion to his squad and to show supporters just how hard they have been working in pursuit of victory. You sense that such exuberant behaviour could quickly put him at odds with the FA.
Three-man defence not necessarily a given
When discussing his tactical plans for Chelsea, Conte gave the sartorial analogy of a tailor measuring the best suit. He will evaluate his players fully before making any cast-iron decisions.
As with many reputable Italian coaches, Conte is renowned for being a shrewd tactician and it was a testament to his abilities that Germany coach Joachim Low switched his system in Bordeaux in order to match the Azzurri. Favouring a 3-5-2 system, his solid and typically cynical defence featured masses of experience with Gigi Buffon's goal protected by three centre-backs in Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Barzagli. Antonio Candreva, Alessandro Florenzi, Matteo Darmian and Mattia De Sciglio all served as hard-working wing-backs.
Although expected to favour that system in England, some would question if Chelsea currently possess the right personnel to make it a success. Conte himself argued that the makeup of his backline was not important and instead emphasised the need to foster a strong and enduring team spirit.