Manager Antonio Conte admits he must get his tactics spot on for Chelsea to stand any chance of competing with Manchester City in Sunday’s Premier League clash.
The Blues head to the Etihad Stadium in a poor run of form, with three defeats in their past four games.
They have won just two of their last seven top-flight matches and have now slipped to fifth in the standings, with a real battle involving Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United to make the top four.
The reigning Premier League champions are a massive 22 points behind table-topping City who are 16 points clear at the top of the table and strolling to the title.
Pep Guardiola’s side have won 13 and drawn one of their homes games this term and it does seem like mission impossible for the west Londoners this weekend, and Conte knows that all 11 of his men must take to the field knowing their jobs otherwise it could be a long afternoon in Manchester.
“When you play this type of game, when you play against this team who have showed to be very strong, you must have a plan in your mind to stop them with a tactical plan, otherwise you risk to lose in a bad way,” he said.
There has been mutual praise from the managers involved prior to the contest, with Guardiola labelling the Italian as a “master” tactically who will leave a legacy in English football when he does finally move elsewhere.
The Citizens have scored 50 league goals and conceded just 10 on their own patch this campaign and the former Italy and Juventus coach confessed that working out how to beat the North West giants is like trying to solve a puzzle.
“For sure, it’s not simple, not simple in this moment to find a weakness in this team,” added Conte. “But we have to try and find the best way to play this game against them.”