Alan Pardew and his side will play host to League leaders Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Saturday, and the Englishman insisted that their change in fortunes was down mainly to the players, not Conte’s change in formation

Chelsea have been in superb form since Antonio Conte introduced his 3-4-3 formation after their 3-0 loss to Arsenal in September. Since then, the Blues have won 10 straight Premier League games on the trot and sit atop the Premier League, 6 points clear of second-placed Liverpool.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Eagles boss Alan Pardew was full of praise for the kind of turnaround his Chelsea counterpart had managed to bring about Stamford Bridge, but insisted that it was more to do with his management of his players, and not the formation itself.

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte reacts ahead of the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on December 14, 2016. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Conte has a fan in Pardew / AFP

“It’s a system he knows very well; he’s coached that system so he’s got it pretty nailed down, But they’ve still got world-class players,” Pardew said. “Don’t think it’s about this, or that. The manager’s done a great job but the world-class players are at the top of their game. And the best thing he’s done is not the system: he’s man-managed those people to perform better.” [via Sky Sports]

Pardew said that the Blues’ most important players, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, were a ‘different proposition’ as compared to last season, as was Cesc Fabregas.

The 55-year-old said that coming from Italy, Conte would have had to get used to the physicality of the league, and it’s different style of play, before adding: “He inherited players that were used to it, and he’s been helped by that. [But] he’s still done a fabulous job, the system suits them, and at the moment they look unbeatable.”

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