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Antonio Conte has had to play Chelsea star Eden Hazard as a false nine on a number of occasions.

The Belgian was deployed as a false nine in games against Barcelona and Manchester City, and while it was a good plan against the Catalan giants, it failed woefully against Pep Guardiola’s City side.

And Conte has insisted that he’d deploy Hazard in that role again if need be.

“The tactics were the same against Barcelona [in the Champions League],” Conte said.

“Defensively, we were very good in both games. If you look at the stats, we conceded only two shots to Manchester City: one they scored, and another after a free kick and [Cesar Azpilicueta] saved it on the line.

“I didn’t see a lot of shots on goal from Manchester City, and this is very strange. Usually when you play against Manchester City they shoot about 20 or 25 times every game. For sure, compare that with the Barcelona game, I think we were not so good in ball possession. We missed a lot of last passes.

“For sure, we have to improve. We have to improve in personality, especially when there is a lot of pressure from our opponent. But the tactics were the same against Barcelona and, against Barcelona, I didn’t [hear] anyone complaining.

“If I think it’s right for the team to play in this way, it’s okay. Otherwise I can take another decision and play with a striker. I can take different decisions. There are three players for two places. One has to go on the bench. Then I have to decide who has to go on the bench.”

However, Hazard was critical of the formation against City and didn’t waste time to show his displeasure.

“I had the feeling that I’d ran, but that I hadn’t played a game of football.

“That’s a pity. We could have played on for three hours, but I wouldn’t touch a ball. It only went better at the end of the game.

“I’m trying to jump but it’s not easy to win the duels against Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte.

“We did not play with our qualities and if Alvaro Morata or Giroud is playing, it’s easier to play with long balls. But I’m trying to do the maximum.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.