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Matic: Arsenal defeat was the wake-up call for Chelsea

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Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Spirits have been running high, in general, for most of Antonio Conte's tenure as club manager, except for the brief period surrounding the consecutive losses at the hands of Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League last month.

But after the Arsenal result, things changed for the better. Conte decided to shift away from his initial plans with the 4-3-3 set-up and change to a 3-4-3, which has now resulted in three increasingly impressive wins for the team.

The loss to our North London rivals served as a wake-up call for the players as well. We’ve had far too many of such wake-up calls over the past twelve months or so, but this time, it may have actually worked.

"Sometimes you need to lose a game to wake up. I think the Arsenal game was a wake-up call for us. We knew that we had to do better, to work more and that's what we have done. It's easier to say you need to work hard, than to actually do it."

"But after the Arsenal game we needed to improve. We had quality in the team, but we had to show it. In the last three games we have shown quality, scored goals and not conceded, which is very important."

Sunday’s 4-0 win over Manchester United is one that will last long in our memories, but at the end of the day, it’s still just one game. There are many more games ahead, some bigger, some smaller, but this game has shown that Chelsea are capable of beating anyone.

"I was thinking before the game about the fact we haven't beaten a big team this season. It was the right moment to show we can compete with every team. I'm very happy about that. Of course we don't forget that we lost against Liverpool or Arsenal, but the table shows that we are up there, we are near the top."

"It is not easy to win 4-0 against a strong team like Manchester United. This was the real Chelsea. Manchester City started very well but in the last few games they have been dropping points, which is good for us. The season is long. We will see what happens in May. Every game is a different story."

It promises to be a tight race at the top of the Premier League, but if we play like we’ve been playing since the Arsenal loss, Chelsea will be in the mix at the final reckoning.

"Every game is a big motivation for us, that doesn't change. We play for a big club. It doesn't matter who we play. [José Mourinho] was our coach and we respect him, me especially. He brought me back here from Benfica so I have big respect for him."

-Nemanja Matic; Source: Evening Standard