Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has taken plenty of positives for the future from the EFL Cup defeat to West Ham. The Italian said he found new solutions to implement his 3-4-3 formations, with Pedro and Oscar impressing him in new respective roles at wing-back and in the middle of the park.
Conte gave a chance to the fringe players to impress after making seven changes in his line-up from the team that thrashed Manchester United over the weekend. The decision failed to pay off completely as the Blues were knocked out of the competition, but Conte believes he still “saw a lot of things that can be useful for the future”.
After Edimilson Fernandes scored a second goal for West Ham, Conte introduced Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Pedro. The substitutions saw former Barcelona forward Pedro replace young Ola Aina at wing-back while Oscar ended the game in a deep role alongside N’Golo Kanté to make space for Eden Hazard, Costa and Willian as the attacking trio.
“I watched the video of the West Ham game. I think we played a good game with good intensity against a tough team. They played with the same players who played in their last league game. We started well but then conceded and that changed the details,” Conte said in the press conference ahead of the Sunday trip to Southampton. “I would have preferred to stay in the game and to have not conceded the second goal, but I saw a good reaction and spirit. We had chances to score, we could also have had a penalty.”
“I saw a lot of things that can be useful for the future, for example I saw Pedro as wing-back and Oscar as one of the two midfielders, and then Oscar in a position like a striker. I had positive answers and I want to use that in the Premier League. Now I have more solutions.”
Conte got just a late consolation goal from Gary Cahill for all his team’s attacking endeavour, but saw new options for the 3-4-3 formation he successfully used at Juventus and with the Italian national team in the Euro 2016. Chelsea won their previous three Premier League games against Hull City, Leicester City and Manchester United with this shape and Conte insisted one defeat to the Hammers will not change his plans.
“It’s not a win or a defeat that can change my ideas or the confidence of my players,” he said. “This system is a good fit, we found a good balance and offensively it’s good because in every game we’ve scored, although we still have to work on movements in offensive situations.”
“It’s different when you defend with four compared to three but I’ve seen a lot of positive things and we want to continue in that aspect. We are working hard to improve but we understand this way is the right way.”