Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is a “master” tactician and will leave his mark on English football, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
The Italian adopted a 5-3-2 formation to guide Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in charge.
But the Blues are 22 points adrift of leaders City this term and the two sides meet at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
“I think Conte is going to leave something to English football. I am sure of that,” said Guardiola.
Conte saw his side beaten heavily 3-0 by rivals Arsenal in September 2016, after which the former Juventus and Italy boss changed his system from a 4-5-1 to playing with three centre-backs and two wing-backs.
It allowed Chelsea to go on a club-record run of 13 consecutive victories, which laid the platform for their fifth Premier League triumph.
This campaign has been a difficult one, though, with the Blues in fifth place and constant speculation surrounding Conte’s future at Stamford Bridge.
Guardiola said: “What Antonio has done here in the Premier League, maybe the people don’t realise.
“He introduced another way to attack with five at the back, another system. A lot of teams, even Arsenal, had to do a lot of imitating to do that.
“Tactically, he is a master. He did it amazingly with the national team with Italy and when he went to Turin.”