Antonio Conte has been hailed by many as his 3-4-3 system has made Chelsea a dominant force in the Premier League, and the system is also shaping football in not only the Premier League but in other climes as well, as many clubs and countries are beginning to adopt the system.
However, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has said he started the formation before Chelsea’s Antonio Conte.
“We provided all the tools to be a Premier League player. My first game in charge against West Ham, he [Dier] started as a centre-back, next to [Younes] Kaboul. Kyle Naughton got a red card, he moved to full-back and scored,” said the Tottenham manager.
“That season, he played like a full-back, like a centre-back but never as a midfielder. Then in the summer, we were looking for a midfielder and we had plenty of options [to buy one], but I decided to play Eric in midfield.
“I created a system that he felt comfortable in. He played like a midfielder without the ball, but with the ball he was a third centre-back.
“You can see in possession he dropped in between the centre-backs or between the full back and the centre-back, and always we play with three.
“People say now Chelsea changed the system, but no, we played always the three in possession. Out of possession, Eric moved in front and without the ball he tried to press and play like a midfielder.
“Then we signed Wanyama and played both, but we had some injuries like Toby [Alderweireld] and Jan [Vertonghen], and Eric was the perfect player to play as a centre-back.
“That is a good thing for the player, the possibility to play in different positions and do well in every one.”
Pochettino can claim all he wants, but Conte will be known as the king of the 3-4-3 system, and Pochettino only reverted back to the system after Chelsea’s success.