Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has credited his success at Stamford Bridge to defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal, which forced the Italian to drastically change his tactics during the 2016/17 season.
The Italian was unbeaten in his opening four Premier League games at Chelsea, but after back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal in September, the Blues ditched their more traditional 4-3-3 formation and adopted a three-at-the-back system.
Chelsea’s 3-0 loss to Arsenal has been widely credited as the match which spurred Conte’s side on to win the title, but the Italian insists their 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool was just as important to their change in tactics.
“I think it was a crucial moment for me and my team because we lost against Arsenal, but in the previous game we also lost against Liverpool,” Conte told Sky Sports.
“Usually when you are in a top club and you have two defeats in a row, it’s not an easy moment for the manager.
“I think it was a crucial moment because I decided to change the system, to play with the 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1, with Eden Hazard, Willian or Pedro behind [Diego] Costa.
“I think it was an important moment.”
?️ “I think everybody would prefer to play home and away if at all possible. And I think it’s clear to see that some clubs feel more strongly about that than others.” https://t.co/Gqv7LqdHE9
Conte received a lot of plaudits for his decision to adopt a new formation, especially one which was so rarely used in the Premier League.
It was a system which helped Chelsea win the Premier League title in his first season at the club, and although they lost the FA Cup final that same year, Conte eventually lifted the domestic cup the following season.
“The coach must be a tailor,” he added. “He has to find the right suits for his team.
“After two months of working with the players, I decided to change formation and to put them in the best situation to exploit their quality.”