Thibaut Courtois acknowledged Antonio Conte’s tactical switch to a 3-4-3 system has been the catalyst behind Chelsea’s stunning upturn in fortunes following their 4-0 humbling of Manchester United on Sunday.
Chelsea started their first season under Conte slowly, with the low point coming in their 3-0 Premier League defeat to Arsenal late last month. That was also the game in which Conte, desperately seeking a solution to his side’s troubles, tweaked his formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-3, and his team has been rejuvenated since.
Successive wins and clean sheets against Hull City and Leicester City followed, and the Blues maintained both of those runs with their eye-catching win over former boss Jose Mourinho on his return to Stamford Bridge.
With N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic operating in tandem in front of the defence in their last three games, Courtois’ life has been made easier.
“I think we play well with three at the back, we control things well,” the Belgium international told SFR Sport. “Against Leicester and Hull, I didn’t have too many saves to make; I had a few more today, but despite that, we have security, that’s good.”
With one end of the pitch sealed up, Chelsea’s attacking talents have been able to cut loose, as United found out to their cost. Pedro’s goal inside the opening minute set the tone as the Blues made it an uncomfortable return for Mourinho.
Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and Kante also found the net as Chelsea moved into fourth place, just a point off top spot.
“That’s our best performance this season,” Courtois said. “We started very strongly, and kept up that intensity throughout the match. You could see that they didn’t know how to put us under pressure, and we managed to find the gaps, and we scored four goals; that was good.”