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Conte: The time for turning it up

Four points are safely in the bag from two difficult fixtures against Liverpool and Arsenal, but the Blues know plenty more are needed if the Premier League trophy is to be brought back to Stamford Bridge.

The next challenge is against Burnley tomorrow and Antonio Conte has revealed a little of his method for keeping the players fully focused against every opponent and in every game.

‘I like to keep always the right tension in my players,’ says the manager, ‘above all when I know you are coming from a good win and it could be relaxed.

‘I try to avoid this and work together with my players to sometimes find the solution to increase the tension before the game and during the training sessions. This is a path to improve your winning mentality.’

Conte uses his experience from being a top-level, successful footballer to sense if there is a high level of concentration or a relaxed mood in the dressing room, and his input is not always the same.

‘When you have the type of game like against Liverpool or Arsenal, the tension is already high. Those moments you must cut a bit of the pressure on the players. This type of game it is not necessary to increase the tension.

‘But sometimes it can happen during the week when the intensity is not high. You try to increase the intensity and tension and try to warn about the danger of the game, warn to pay attention because on the Saturday or the Sunday we risk a lot if we don’t have this concentration and this intensity.

‘It is always important to have this type of relationship with the players. When I was a footballer, for me it was always important to hear my coach warn me and my team to pay attention, to be focused and ready to fight because if we go and we are relaxed, we risk losing.’

One clear example of the fantastic focus Conte has from his players this season is David Luiz, who is earning rave reviews for his consistency and class at the heart of the team’s impressive defence.

‘For sure I am pleased with David Luiz’s performance,’ praises Conte. ‘He is showing his real value and that is important for him, for Chelsea and for me.

‘But I like to repeat a lot to all my players that you need a lot of time to build something important but you need only one minute to disrupt all of this, so for this reason it is important to continue in this way, with great concentration and great focus every game, because when you are a central defender and above all when play in the middle, you must play football with great intelligence to understand the moment when to cover, and the moment when to be aggressive.’