Antonio Conte fears Chelsea could be on the receiving end of a big defeat at Manchester City on Sunday if his side are not tactically ready to combat their hosts.
The Blues are 22 points behind Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect and are bidding to avoid a third-straight Premier League away loss for the first time in five years.
“When you play this type of game, when you play against this team who have showed to be very strong, you must have a plan in your mind to stop them with a tactical plan, otherwise you risk to lose in a bad way,” Conte said.
Conte earlier this season insisted Chelsea would focus on themselves and their own approach.
Targeting City would be a deviation from that, but balance is his main objective.
He added: “The most important things in every game are to have a tactical plan defensively and offensively.
“In my mind, if you want to win, you must have a great balance in every moment of the game.”
Conte on Friday described City as “unstoppable”, but the Italian has tried to find a chink in their armour this week.
“It’s very difficult but, at the same time, we have to try and find if there are weaknesses in this team and try to work on these weaknesses,” Conte added.
“For sure, it’s not simple, not simple in this moment to find a weakness in this team. But we have to try and find the best way to play this game against them.”
Ross Barkley could be in the Chelsea squad after returning to training following a hamstring injury.
David Luiz, Ethan Ampadu and Tiemoue Bakayoko remain out.