Chelsea have been rejuvenated this season because their players are operating with a freedom not afforded to them by former boss Jose Mourinho, claims Dietmar Hamann.
The ex-Liverpool and Newcastle midfielder says the Portuguese coach made life "all about him" during his second spell in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.
He was removed from his post in December 2015 after seeing a side that had lifted the Premier League title a few months earlier capitulate to languish in the bottom half of the table.
Guus Hiddink was brought in to steady the ship, before handing the reins to Antonio Conte over the summer.
The Italian has breathed new life into a faltering squad, with his methods having been embraced by those who were stagnating under the previous regime.
Hamann believes a surge to the summit of the top-flight standings has vindicated the decision to part with Mourinho, with Manchester United now enduring similar struggles for consistency.
"[Chelsea] are strong at the back and they’ve already kept seven clean sheets this season, but they play exciting, attacking football," he told Paddy Power.
"That’s something you didn’t used to associate with Chelsea. Although they were successful, physical and functional, they were never free-flowing.
"They are a completely different team under Conte.
"A lot of Chelsea players have blossomed now with Jose Mourinho gone – including Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Victor Moses.
"It was a brave call to get rid of Jose, but it was the right call as his behaviour at the club left them with no choice.
"With Mourinho it was all about him. Not the players.
"Football is a team game and he has the same problem at Manchester United now, where he thinks it is all about him. That’s why the players don’t play to their ability."
Chelsea have secured six successive Premier League victories to move into top spot – with that run seeing them net 17 times without reply.
They are now one point clear of the chasing pack, and nine in front of Mourinho and his new employers at Old Trafford.