Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea’s early struggles contributed to his move to rearrange his defence into a back three, saying that he ‘knew’ the formation he inherited wasn’t good enough to do the job against big teams.
Victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday took the Blues to an incredible 11 straight wins in the Premier League, with a gap of seven points to second placed Manchester City ahead of Monday night’s Merseyside derby, which could see Liverpool move to six points off the lead.
11 – Chelsea have now equalled their all-time top-flight club record run of 11 consecutive wins; also set in September 2009. Momentum.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 17, 2016
Speaking after the win over Alan Pardew’s Eagles, Conte told the press: “In my mind before the game I understood our formation wasn’t good to face Liverpool, on the tactical aspect. And we paid for this.
“And also against Arsenal. And then I decided to change. To see my teams have two bad defeats – we deserved two bad defeats – I didn’t like this. It changed something in me, in the players, in the club.
“Now we are playing with three central defenders and, in the history of Chelsea, maybe this has never happened. You hope you don’t [have to] change because I have players who have only played with four [defenders].
“To change totally the situation is not easy, and you must go slowly to put your idea [across]. In my mind in the game against Liverpool there was the will to change, but I waited for the right moment – after two bad defeats. Now we have 11 wins, nine clean sheets. It’s fantastic, because it’s not easy to not concede a goal in this league.”
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