Antonio Conte has praised Claude Puel, the man who will be in the opposing dugout when we take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday.
The game is a clash between two in-form teams, with the Blues having won our last three matches in the Premier League and Southampton unbeaten in five.
The Saints are particularly impressive at home, where they haven’t lost since the Blues visited last February and Branislav Ivanovic headed home a late winner.
‘Southampton are a very good team, very strong,’ said Conte. ‘I watched many of their games and I like Puel. His team play offensive football and in every game they play good football. In the last game they played well against Manchester City and had many chances.
‘They are more compact in defensive situations and I’m sure on Sunday it will be very tough, but it will be a good test for us to continue after three good games. This test is different because it’s away from home against a team in good shape. For our ambition it’s a big test.’
Conte says he has been studying Southampton’s recent matches in order to find the best way in which we can exploit their weaknesses.
‘It’s logical that you watch the opponent and try to find the right solution in offensive and defensive situations,’ said the Italian.
‘When they attack they do it with many players, sometimes they have three players in attack when they don’t have the ball. You must look at the details if you want to win, it’s important to prepare your players.’
Turning his attention to his own side, Conte is pleased with the way in which the 3-4-3 formation, which was implemented for the away game at Hull and has remained in place since, has worked for the side at both ends of the pitch.
‘It’s not a win or a defeat that can change my ideas or the confidence of my players,’ said the Blues boss. ‘This system is a good fit, we found a good balance and offensively it’s good because in every game we’ve scored, although we still have to work on movements in offensive situations.
‘It’s different when you defend with four compared to three but I’ve seen a lot of positive things and we want to continue in that aspect. We are working hard to improve but we understand this way is the right way.’