Chelsea boss Antonio Conte sends title warning to rivals: We can handle the pressure
Jan 08 2017 at 05:59pm
ANTONIO CONTE has challenged the rest of the Premier League to catch Chelsea if they can, insisting his table-topping side can handle the pressure.
Conte's team go into the Christmas period six points clear - and six times in the last seven seasons the team in that position have gone on to win the title.
The Italian says he pays no attention to the table until the season is exactly halfway through - in two games' time - but admits he would rather be at the top looking down right now, rather than in the chasing pack.
Antonio Conte won three Serie A titles in a row as manager of Juventus before joining Chelsea team, who finished 10th last year and were rank outsiders for the Premier League at the start of this season. Now they are aiming to make it 12 wins in a row when they face Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day, and Conte said: "We all know that we are doing fantastic things because, if I go back to the start of the season, not one person forecast that Chelsea would stay top of the table. Because the squad was the same as last season's. Because our summer transfer market wasn't great.
"But we found the right balance. And we have changed people's opinions. Now we are two games away from halfway through.
"But to arrive at Christmas and open the newspaper and see you are top of the table, that's fantastic. We are working very well, and deserve this, and I'm very happy for the players. They deserve this.
"But you can only keep this position through hard work, face every game with concentration and focus, and the will to fight." Conte has a squad used to winning titles, the majority of this Chelsea side having won the Premier League under Jose Mourinho in 2015.
He added: "These players in the past have had the habit of staying top of the table. It's not the first time for me or my players.
"But I prefer not to look at the table at this moment. The table now is not important. Do that at the end of the season. For now, it's more important to take the three points and continue to progress.
"I don't trust people when they say, 'It's important to stay behind; there's pressure when you're top'. I'd prefer the pressure of being top. We earned this position. Now it's important to keep it. Source:www.express.co.uk