Chelsea boss Antonio Conte insists that captain John Terry remains an integral part of the team even after switching to the 3-4-3 formation in recent weeks.

The switch to this formation, which has been the default option for Conte throughout his managerial regime, has been a major factor in the club’s superb form over the last five games. Chelsea have been looking like a team possessed and it has pushed the second in the table after struggling earlier in the campaign. The back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal by a hefty margin forced Conte into this formation, which is extremely new for Chelsea.

Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas attempted something similar when he came to the club, but it was largely the reason for his downfall. John Terry simply could not play in the system and the young Portuguese manager was not brave enough to drop the Chelsea captain, who was still at his peak.

Conte is not faced with such issues anymore, as Terry is widely expected to retire in the next couple of years. His contract runs out at the end of the season, and it is widely believed that he does not fit into the new system at Chelsea. Conte, though, insisted that the 35-year-old remains integral to the blues.

“It is logical that as John has just come back from injury it is not easy to start and find the direction. But I know John is important for us. If he plays or doesn’t play he is important: in the changing room, for his team-mates, for the club.What is important is the team, not the individual player. I have to always take the best decision for the team not an individual. I don’t like to even talk about individual players or their performances,” said Conte.