MICHAEL BALLACK believes Antonio Conte came in and whipped Chelsea back into shape after a dismal season last year.
Chelsea finished 10th in the Premier League last season, their worst campaign since 1996.
Jose Mourinho lost his job despite winning the title just months before and Guus Hiddink came in to steady the ship.
But Antonio Conte has taken Chelsea back to the top of the table this year and are 10 points clear with just 10 games left.
And Ballack believes Conte’s immediate success is down to his close relationship with the players.
“I’ve really been impressed them for the whole season,” Ballack told Sky Sports.
“Antonio Conte came in and he brought the team back in line.
“They are leading the table really comfortable, by 10 points, in front of Tottenham and Manchester City, teams that all have high expectations.
“But he seems to have good access to the players and pulled up a quick relationship with them which is really important after a disappointing season.
“He changed the system really early so it was interesting to see how quick he can adapt to a new group of players and have such a huge impact.
“He’s a winner, you can see that and he has that little bit extra for when you look to your coach and he’s leading with such a passion and that’s good to watch.”