Antonio Conte has rescued Chelsea after an “ugly” defence of their Premier League title last time around, claims Blues duo Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill.
The Blues won the Premier League in the 2014/15 season, but their defence was marred by poor results and infighting, with the struggles eventually costing Jose Mourinho his job in December. Guus Hiddink replaced him as interim for the rest of the season.
They eventually recovered to finish 10th, but with Conte now at the helm, Chelsea look a completely different side.
Explaining the differences between the Italian and Mourinho, Hazard said: “Conte puts trust in his players and now we are good after an ugly season last year.
“I’ve always been the same player but Conte knows how to treat players having played at the highest level himself.”
Cahill on Mourinho
Chelsea have won each of their three opening games of the season, and Cahill says that Conte has added a much-needed “organisation” to their game.
“Everyone saw what happened,” the defender told BBC Radio 5 Live, discussing last season. “We went from winning the league having stayed at the top all year to the disaster of last season.
“We lost our way tactically, everyone’s head was in different directions.
“When I say about pulling together as a team, I felt everyone had different situations going on individually whether that be if you’re playing or not, the manager, or this or that. Different distractions are never healthy.
“We needed organisation. The main thing for me is how fit and sharp we look, and the organisation in terms of where players need to be.
“It was important that we regroup and get everyone focussed back to where we should be.
“We needed to have a game plan, have the tactics and way we want to play drilled into everyone and everybody buy into it. That’s what we have seen early on.
“This season we have come in, worked very hard and we are buying into what is happening here.
“That’s the most important thing to move forward.”