Conte is a 'master' tactician - Guardiola

04Mar 2018
Guardian On Sunday
Conte is a 'master' tactician - Guardiola

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is a "master" tactician and will leave his mark on English football, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte

The Italian adopted a 5-3-2 formation to guide Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge.

But the Blues are 22 points adrift of leaders City this term and the two sides meet at Etihad Stadium today.

"I think Conte is going to leave something to English football. I am sure of that," said Guardiola.

Conte saw his side beaten heavily 3-0 by rivals Arsenal in September 2016, after which the former Juventus and Italy boss changed his system from a 4-5-1 to playing with three centre-backs and two wing-backs.

It allowed Chelsea to go on a club-record run of 13 consecutive victories, which laid the platform for their fifth Premier League triumph.

This campaign has been a difficult one, though, with the Blues in fifth place and constant speculation surrounding Conte's future at Stamford Bridge.

Guardiola said: "What Antonio has done here in the Premier League, maybe the people don't realise.

"He introduced another way to attack with five at the back, another system. A lot of teams, even Arsenal, had to do a lot of imitating to do that.

"Tactically, he is a master. He did it amazingly with the national team with Italy and when he went to Turin."

City claimed the Carabao Cup by beating Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley on Sunday, Guardiola's first trophy as manager. They have lost just once in the league this season and need five wins from their remaining 10 games to clinch the title.

"In this moment they seem unstoppable," said Conte. "We must have great admiration. Sometimes it is very difficult to find a weakness in this team.

"When you work very well and there is a great feeling between the manager and the club, you can work in the way you want, to try to improve your team in the best way.

"Manchester City has the possibility to spend a lot of money. When you link this situation - a good manager, much money to spend in the transfer market, the same ambition - this is the final result." AGENCIES