What we all knew for some time what came to pass on Monday when Antonio Conte was confirmed as the new manager of Chelsea.

Once his commitments with the Italian national team, including the final Euro 2016 Group E tie against Ireland, are done with at Euro 2016, Conte will then assume his duties with the Stamford Bridge club.

You could say that the only way is up for Chelsea in a season where it took them until the first weekend in April to reach the mid-table spot in the Premier League.

Last month, PSG proved too good for the Londoners in the last-16 stage of the Champions League, A few days later, Everton were comfortable winners in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

There still is a chance that Chelsea may qualify for Europe next season, via the Europa League, but trekking across the continent on Thursday nights is not part of Roman Abramovich's greater project.

Ray Houghton has no doubts about Conte's managerial ability, but thinks he will have a job on his hands to revive the four-time Premier League winners.

"He has to come in and get the recruitment right, that's, that's crucially important" 

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Houghton said: "He's very experienced, knows football inside out and is a good tactician, But he has a tough job. You look at the Chelsea side that have underperformed after winning the title last season. Now they're mid-table.

"He's got to make some really big choices as to players he wants to move on and those he wants to keep. It's a challenge for him and he'll be hoping that he has the backing from the owner."

Strengthening the Chelsea squad will be key, with the ex-Ireland midfielder adding that Conte has to get it right in terms of the new arrivals.

"He has to come in and get the recruitment right, that's, that's crucially important.

"When you look at what Chelsea did last season in terms of their buying policy they brought in players like Pedro who haven't worked out. He has to bring in the right personnel that will improve Chelsea next season."