Antonio Conte on Liverpool v Chelsea: We are a different team, not Liverpool.
As Antonio Conte takes his Chelsea team to Anfield tonight in a massive game in the title race, he has re-iterated that Chelsea are now ...
As Antonio Conte takes his Chelsea team to Anfield tonight in a massive game in the title race, he has re-iterated that Chelsea are now a very different team to the side beaten by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on September 16th.
This week Chelsea play the reverse of the two previous fixtures that changed our season, defeat at home to Liverpool followed by a battering at Arsenal. Chelsea were well beaten in both games and we knew it. As Jordan Henderson hit that 30-yard screamer into the top corner beating Thibaut Courtois all ends up I honestly felt like leaving the ground and going home - If he scores against you, then you really are that shit!
Everyone connected with the club looked down and dejected. The Manager, the players, the supporters around the ground, everyone. Antonio Conte spoke after defeat to Liverpool that night and stated that Liverpool were a great team whereas Chelsea were not. It was simple, honest, to the point and true.
Just over four months later, Chelsea sit at the top of the Premier League having lost just a single game since those two defeats earlier in the season and are a totally different side now. Solid at the back, hard working throughout and potent in attack, Chelsea have found the perfect balance with Conte's 3-4-3 formation. Whether it's dominating possession of the ball or playing counter-attacking football at blistering pace, Chelsea have demonstrated throughout these four months that they deserve to be at the top of the league and it's something Antonio Conte has been quick to point out in his pre-match press conference.
"Honestly, I think we are a different team, not Liverpool. I think that we grew a lot.
After the game (against Liverpool) I said 'today we faced a great team, a really great team, but today we are not a team. Only through work we can improve to become a team'. I think it happened.
We grew a lot and for this reason now we are top of the table.
It's incredible this, because it's not easy to have two defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal and to find the strength to start and to arrive top of the table and to have 13 wins in a row. I'm pleased for my players - they deserve this." - Source: The Mirror.
I personally do not think that Antonio Conte gets enough credit for the way he has turned things around at Chelsea after those two defeats. If you recall at the time, there was opinion in the press that he was under pressure and his job was on the line which is ridiculous.
The fact that he came into the club, looked at everyone he had here playing in a formation that had adopted over recent seasons to the point it was obviously flawed (by Liverpool & Arsenal), to then decide to make a tactical switch to three at the back which, in the Premier League, has always proven to be a gamble, but to make it work in the way that he has is incredible.
Just look at the performances of the players individually but also in the framework of the team. Every single one of them has been excellent and deserve to be exactly where they are.
Antonio Conte always talks of hard work every week and the target to improve with the players buying into everything he asks of them which is such a difference to last season.
I will be honest, after those two defeats earlier in the season, I was worried that we were heading back to a year ago and another nightmare season. However, as the manager has re-iterated quite clearly, he takes a very different Chelsea team to the side beaten by Liverpool earlier in the season and one that will pose a very different threat to Jurgen Klopp's title chances.