English Premiership

Conte hails adaptability of Chelsea players

2016-11-14 19:29
Antonio Conte (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Antonio Conte has explained how he tinkered with Chelsea's formation before settling on the 3-4-3 that has become so successful for the side in recent weeks.

The 47-year-old former Italy and Juventus boss, arrived in west London with a reputation as a tactically astute manager. He has been known for employing a 3-5-2 formation, or variations of that formation in previous jobs, but looked to employ a 4-2-4 formation, he had used when manager of Bari, upon his arrival at Chelsea.

And while Conte's reign started positively enough, after some less than impressive results, where they leaked goals, the astute tactician put into place a more versatile 3-4-3 set-up that he felt suited his players better.

Speaking to the club's official website during the international break, Conte explained how he searched for a solution to his side's problems.

He said: "It is not easy to arrive in a new club and to find out about a new country, a new language, and also you have to bring your new method, your new philosophy of football. 

"But after four months I am pleased about it all, because the players always have shown me a great attitude, a great work-rate during the training sessions and also during the games."

He added: "We started the season with another system because the idea in my mind was that I wanted to play with the 4-2-4, and then we switched with 4-3-3 and we played also in the same way like last year, 4-2-3-1.

"But I noticed in some circumstances we didn’t have the right balance because when you concede more goals than your opponent and even more chances to score a goal, it is never a good thing. 

"For this reason, we switched to the new system of 3-4-3 and I think this is a good fit for our squad because also we have the strikers adapted for this system."

Conte has a phenomenal understanding of the dynamics of his players, and the recent result have shown just that, as Chelsea stormed to a 5-0 victory over Everton last time out, having first altered his system following the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in September.

He continued: "I thought it would improve us offensively as well as defensively and we didn’t lose our offensive situation. In this way we have increased it because we scored many goals and created a lot of chances to score the goals and also if you maintain the clean sheet, I think this is the right way.’

"The first time I changed to this system was against Arsenal for the last 25 minutes, and then we continued with this idea of football. 

"For sure in this month we have developed, we have worked a lot on this system, and for sure I have to say thanks to my players because they had the right concentration, the right attitude, the right will to stay more than before in the training sessions and now it is easier than one month ago. 

"But we know we can improve a lot on different aspects - the pressure on the ball, quickly being more compact - for sure we have to improve.

"I knew the characteristic of the players and for this reason when I spoke to the club and we planned the season, this system was an alternative to the 4-2-4."

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