Antonio Conte admits he was very "happy" not to come under intense scrutiny for his philosophy at Chelsea.
Like many Italian managers before him, Conte's main priority with Chelsea was making them a defensively-solid unit.
The current Inter Milan manager's system of choice during his time at Stamford Bridge was a 3-5-2 formation, which bore fruit in his two seasons with the Blues as he guided them to Premier League and FA Cup glory.
Conte's system was far from a revolutionary one. In fact, former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal attempted to utilise it during his two-year reign at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal's implementation of the system, however, was lambasted by fans and pundits alike, with former Red Devil Gary Neville claiming it had a detrimental effect on the team's "tempo".
The criticism Van Gaal received didn't go unnoticed by Conte, who is thankful such scrutiny didn't come his way during his time in west London.
“I’m happy that I left a legacy," the 51-year-old toldThe Daily Telegraph . “I think football is always an evolution and it’s important for the coach to be ready to find new solutions and to see other coaches, and if they have a new idea to rob them!
“I am happy because to play three at the back before I arrived in England, it was not a problem but I remember very well when Louis van Gaal tried it with Manchester United, there was a lot of criticism of him.”
Chelsea are currently under the stewardship of former Blues midfielder Frank Lampard, who guided the big spenders to the FA Cup final in his maiden season in charge.
Conte likes what he sees of his old side under Lampard, saying: “I think, honestly, now at this moment Chelsea is a really good team, a strong team, a large squad to face many, many competitions.
Premier League's most expensive kit deals
- Manchester United (Adidas) – £75m-a-season
- Liverpool (Nike) – £70m-a-season*
- Manchester City (Puma) – £65m-a-season
- Chelsea (Nike) – £60m-a-season
- Arsenal (Adidas) – £50m-a-season
- Tottenham (Nike) – £30m-a-season
*If bonuses are met
"They worked very well and at this moment they have many, many players. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea and the situation wasn’t this.
"Because I remember in my first season, we faced the season with only 16 players.
"But, in this year, the club worked very well. I know they are doing a really good job because I continue to follow Chelsea. I am a fan.
“Lampard is, for sure, doing a good job and he knows very well the club because he’s a legend for Chelsea.
"I think it was the same when I started with Juventus because I knew very well the club and the way that you had to follow to reach your target. Lampard is the right coach for Chelsea.”
Chelsea will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, travelling to St James' Park to take on Newcastle.
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