Conte has difficulty selecting lineups with Chelsea’s wealth of talent
It’s a good problem to have but Antonio Conte says he sometimes has difficulty selecting his starting team given Chelsea’s depth and level of talent.
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The Italian manager has transformed the Blues this season, after finishing outside of the top four last season under Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea currently sits atop the Premier League on 59 points, 30 more than the team had a season ago at this very point. While Conte and his tactics have a lot to do with the squad’s success, the former Juventus boss attributes the form to the brilliance of his players.
“Sometimes you must make the decision and look at the balance of the team,” he added. “Sometimes you must make different decisions. Cesc is an important player and I always try to put him in the best condition to give us his best for the team.
“I’m very pleased with him. Don’t forget N’Golo Kante is playing in his place and a lot of people say that he is the best player in the league. Then there is Nemanja Matic, who I think is playing in an outstanding way.
“When you have two players playing so well it’s not easy. It’s the same for Willian and Pedro. For me, sometimes it’s difficult to sleep and to make the best decision. I prefer to have this type of problem.
“The most important thing is these players are totally involved in the team. Cesc is playing with us and is very important for the team and I’m pleased about this.”
Conte has found a ton of success this season with many of the same staples that were in the team a season ago. Chelsea made very few signings over the summer and no major adjustments during the January transfer window, which has made Conte’s turnaround all the more impressive.
The manager’s well-noted move to a three-back system has opened up the team’s attacking flow and presented a more stout defensive front sitting ahead of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
One player that has found great form under Conte is midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has found the back of the net four times in all competitions for the Blues.
Conte’s relates Fabregas’ style of play to an Italian that the manager is quite familiar with from his days at Juventus and with the Italy national team.
“Cesc is a top player and is a genius at football,” he said. “I can talk in the same way about Andrea Pirlo. We are talking about a genius of football.
“Cesc doesn’t run 100 metres in 10 seconds, but I can allow him this because he’s a genius with the ball. His velocity is in his mind. With Cesc we are working on tactical aspects and to improve his position.”