Football Expert & Columnist
Antonio Conte has the snarl of Jose Mourinho but also can smile, says Jamie Redknapp
Last Updated: 30/10/16 11:02pm
Antonio Conte has the perfect mix of "snarl and smile" and has found a better balance at Chelsea than Jose Mourinho, according to Jamie Redknapp.
Chelsea made it four Premier League wins in a row and moved to within one point of top spot with a 2-0 win over Southampton at St Mary's on Super Sunday.
The victory moves Conte's men into fourth place on 22 points, just one point off Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, who are all level on 23.
The Italian was a bundle of energy on the touchline throughout the game, ordering his team around the pitch and Redknapp believes his personality is getting the best out of his players, who performed so miserably under Mourinho at the start of last season.
"Last season there was too much snarl with Jose Mourinho - all of the time," Redknapp said. "But with Antonio Conte you get the snarl and the smile. It's a nice balance. You wouldn't want to cross him as he's an angry man when he wants to be, but when you're playing well he's your best mate."
Eden Hazard netted for the third league game in succession on six minutes, which put Chelsea in full control, before Diego Costa curled home a sumptuous second to end Southampton's eight-month unbeaten run at home.
Since being dispatched 3-0 by Arsenal and switching to a back three of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea have taken maximum points and kept four consecutive clean sheets.
"When you change a system and get results like they are now, especially when they're not conceding goals, the players will buy into everything the manager is doing," Redknapp said.
"The challenge will come when they go a goal behind and when they have to chase a game. At the moment when they go 1-0 up they are so difficult to beat. It's like playing against a brick wall - it's so difficult to break down."