Chelsea have won five out of five since switching to a three-man backline, but the Italian has admitted the formation wasn’t part of his initial plans.
Antonio Conte has revealed that Chelsea’s success with a 3-4-3 formation has come about by accident after actually being his plan D.
Chelsea began the Premier League season well as they recorded three successive wins, but a draw with Swansea City and two defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal in September proved they still had a long way to go.
Conte’s first four months in charge of the club have seen him tinker with various tactical set-ups, but following the loss to Arsenal the Italian set on 3-4-3.
It was the fourth system he had tried with his team and Chelsea have picked up five league wins in succession since that humbling at the Emirates Stadium, becoming a more potent attacking force without sacrificing their defensive stability.
Conte told Chelsea’s official website: “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.
“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.”
One particularly notable facet of Chelsea’s play so far this term has been Conte’s ability to get the best out of his players even when out of position.
Victor Moses has enjoyed something of a resurgence, playing 10 times in the league as a makeshift wing-back after three seasons out on loan, while full-back Cesar Azpilicueta been shifted around and regularly deployed at centre-back.
“I think that a manager must improve his players,” Conte added. “It is important to work with the team but also one-to-one to bring out the talent of the players, to improve the weaknesses and become strengthened.
“Here at Chelsea we have a lot of talent but now we are working a lot with these players and I am pleased to see the great attitude and the great will to improve, and to play for the team because when you want to win something important, it is important to be a team.”