Chelsea’s upturn in fortune gives Antonio Conte food for thought

• Manager emphasises importance of a balanced diet for players
• Italian says that work on different playing systems has paid off

Under Antonio Conte Chelsea’s stomachs are settling. It has been a fraught 12 months but three Premier League wins of increasing significance have brought a pronounced change in tone and the manager’s tweaks, both on and off the pitch, appear to have swiftly borne fruit.

In fact fruit is only part of it. Conte’s reputation for keeping firm control over his players’ diets preceded his arrival in July and, in relaxed form at Cobham before Sunday’s visit to Southampton, he explained that his insistence on balanced food intake stems from a penny dropping late in his playing career.

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