Conte not too scared to change

An­to­nio drops Ivanovic and watches as Chelsea kill the Hull City Tigers

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International -

An­to­nio Conte re­acted as you’d ex­pect to a 3-0 roast­ing by Arse­nal. The fiery Ital­ian ripped up Chelsea’s for­ma­tion, be­came the first man­ager since An­dre Vil­las-Boas to drop Branislav Ivanovic and watched as Diego Costa helped end their wor­ry­ing mini-slump in the 2-0 vic­tory.

Their record ar­riv­ing on Hum­ber­side was vir­tu­ally a cri­sis by Ro­man Abramovich’s stan­dards, one point out from a pos­si­ble nine with seven goals con­ceded.

So just like Jose Mour­inho a week ago at Manch­ester United when he left out Wayne Rooney, Conte did not shy away from mak­ing big changes.

He lined up with a three-man cen­tral de­fence, two un­likely wing-backs in Vic­tor Moses and Mar­cos Alonso, and Ivanovic watch­ing from the bench — the first time the Ser­bian has been left out of a Premier League fix­ture since the 2011-12 cam­paign.

The re­wards weren’t im­me­di­ate with Chelsea in­debted to two fine saves by goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois in or­der to reach half­time level.

But af­ter that they moved up the gears with mid­field­ers N’Golo Kante and Ne­manja Matic powering fur­ther for­ward and two sump­tu­ous fin­ishes from Wil­lian and Costa from near-iden­ti­cal po­si­tions seal­ing the points.

“We played with a real in­ten­sity,” said Conte, who had briefly ex­per­i­mented with his new for­ma­tion in the sec­ond half at the Emi­rates when the game had al­ready been lost.

“It is never easy af­ter two de­feats but it was im­por­tant to keep a clean sheet here af­ter con­ced­ing two and three goals,” said the Ital­ian. “We were able to de­fend very high and this is very im­por­tant.

“The team was al­ways com­pact and when we lost the ball, we tried to win it back quickly. When you work to­gether, it is easy.”

There was scant sym­pa­thy for Ivanovic, 32, who has been a main­stay of Chelsea’s glory era.

“I try to choose the best for the team be­cause I want to win and the fans want to win,” added Conte.

“It is im­por­tant all the play­ers must be in­volved in the project, young and old. We work to­gether and it is im­por­tant to trust the work.”

Hull had never beaten Chelsea in the Premier League but might have been en­cour­aged by the sur­pris­ing line-up Conte used.

REUTERS

Chelsea man­ager An­to­nio Conte

REUTERS

Liver­pool’s James Mil­ner scores their sec­ond goal from the penalty spot/

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