Gianfranco Zola: What has surprised me about Antonio Conte at Chelsea

The Chelsea legend hails Antonio Conte's impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge

Gianfranzo Zola has admitted his surprise at how quickly Antonio Conte has been able to embed his philosophy at Chelsea.

The Blues are sitting at the top of the Premier League table after seven successive top-flight victories since September.

Chelsea have kept six clean sheets in their last seven outings to help the Blues to collect 21 points which has left them in pole position.

Conte’s side have beaten Hull City, Leicester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Everton, Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur in their last seven Premier League fixtures.

Chelsea will face their sternest test since a 3-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium when the Premier League leaders make the long trip to title rivals Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.

However, Blues legend Zola has been impressed with Conte’s immediate impact at Stamford Bridge ahead of the top of the table clash at the Etihad Stadium.

“I know how Antonio works, how good he is. To see the work flourishing so quickly is a surprise but it’s all down to the work he does and his ability as a coach. He deserves it,” Zola is quoted as saying by Metro.

“(Not playing in Europe) is an advantage, certainly, because there are teams who have more games, but that’s not a guarantee.

“You need to work hard to win the league because there five or six teams who have the credentials to do that.

“They have to keep performing the way they are doing and if they do that they stand a good chance.”

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Chelsea are a point ahead of second place Liverpool after 13 Premier League games ahead of Saturday’s clash at Manchester City.

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