Hit the ground running
The Conte era at Stamford Bridge couldn't have got off to a brighter start, with the Blues coming on leaps and bounds since their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in mid-September.
They have managed five consecutive league victories since that defeat to Arsene Wenger's side, conceding zero goals and scoring an impressive 16 in that time.
They went into the international break in the grandest fashion, with the 5-0 over Everton which temporarily put them top of the table. The Blues could face a potential banana skin with the visit to Aitor Karanka's side, but Conte insisted that he is expecting o see his side pick up where they left off.
"In the last games we played good football and showed great compactness without conceding," Conte told chelseafc.com. "We scored many goals and created a lot of chances."
‘We found a good balance," the Italian stated. "This system and formation is a good fit for this squad and the players are happy to play with this formation."
"I said after the Everton game it was a pity to stop our run for the international break but it’s important to find the right way to continue very quickly," Conte added. "This week we have been working to find the right concentration and focus to restart in the right way."
Can be one of the best
One of the big positives of Conte's arrival has been the rejuvenation in form for certain big players, with one of them been winger Eden Hazard. The Belgian looked a shadow of himself last year, but has returned to his very best with seven goals in 11 league appearances. His performances earned him player of the month for October, and Conte insisted that the 25-year-old has the potential to be one of the best.
"I am pleased for Eden," he said. "He is playing fantastic football and is working very well during the training session, showing a great attitude and commitment."
"He is a fantastic player in this moment and is working a lot for the team," the 47-year-old admitted. "It's fantastic when a player with this talent puts his work into the team."
"We have to go step by step with the team. If we want to compare Eden with the top players, it's not the right moment," Conte concluded. "He has the potential to do great things in his career but it's important now that he is putting his best into the team, and it's great for us."
Chelsea FC will take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday, November 20 with kick-off at 4pm BST.