FOR central defenders there can surely be no higher praise than being compared to the majestic Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi.

The Italian duo forged legendary status as part of the dominant AC Milan side of the early 90s, turning defending into an art form with their effortless reading of the game and composure on the ball.

Heartening then for Chester’s Simon Grand and Danny Livesey to hear their names uttered in the same breath as such illustrious company.

Reflecting on Saturday’s impressive 3-1 victory at Telford, Blues joint-manager Anthony Johnson venerated his veteran centre halves with a tongue-in-cheek comparison.

“I seem to be saying the same thing after every game - we look like we’re getting better”, he said.

“With each performance it looks like we’re getting better.

“I thought some of the football we played was sublime, it was absolutely fantastic.

“We’ve got 34 and 35-year old centre backs who have never played out from the back before and they’re looking like Baresi and Maldini.

“So long may it continue. The confidence is very high, everyone wants to take the ball into good areas.”

A third successive 3-1 victory lifted Chester to second in the National League North table.

The winning margin could have been far greater, such was the visitors dominance of the first half.

The build-up to Chester’s second goal typified their new-found swagger as Joel Taylor’s clinical through-ball set up Akwasi Asante to score his second of the game.

And Johnson is thrilled that the hard work done on the training ground is already yielding results.

“To work on certain things in training and then see it on a matchday - as a manager or a coach it gives you so much pleasure”, he added.

“These are things you bang on about every single day. But we’re a good side and it’s happening in every game - it’s not a fluke and we’re not scraping results.We probably will have a couple of games where we’re poor and maybe win.

“But at this moment we’re coming to good teams and big clubs and we’re battering them in all honesty. The amount of chances we’re creating is unreal.”

There was some concern for Chester late in the game though, with Telford's’s Lewis Reilly reducing the deficit on 68 minutes before right-back James Morgan was shown a straight red card 12 minutes later.

Johnson said: “At the end of the game my anxiety levels were going up and they shouldn’t have been really. There were a couple of tackles where we’ve gone to ground and didn’t really need to and it put us under pressure.”

Morgan’s dismissal took the gloss off an otherwise faultless away display, with Johnson quick to salute the 775 travelling fans at New Bucks Head.

He said: “With the noise they created from the warm-up all the way to the back end of the game it was absolutely brilliant and we love it. Life’s good at Chester. We’re all enjoying it and it’s good place to be at the minute.”