London: Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has showered praise on his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte and hailed him a master tactician. Guardiola said the Italian has already changed the way clubs play in the Premier League.
Conte won the Premier League title in his debut season in England last year but the London outfit are currently struggling down in fifth place, 22 points behind runaway leaders City.
Chelsea are also two points behind Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a top-four finish that will ensure qualification for next season's Champions League.
"I think Conte is going to leave something to English football. I am sure of that," Guardiola told reporters as his side prepare to heap more misery on the champions in Sunday's clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola's side will go into the match on the back of a 3-0 league victory over Arsenal on Thursday, while Chelsea lost their last league fixture 2-1 to Manchester United at Old Trafford last Sunday.
Conte, who led Italy to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals before joining Chelsea later that year, has been the subject of persistent British media reports suggesting he will leave the club after criticizing their transfer policy this season.
Guardiola, however, feels the former Juventus boss has already left his mark on English football.
"What Antonio has done here in the Premier League, maybe the people don't realize," the former Barcelona boss said.
"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."