Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has conceded that Tottenham are the in-form team in the league right now and that Chelsea has to try and emulate the same if they are to hold on to their place at the top of the table until game week 38.
Chelsea suffered a painful defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford and failed to register even one shot on target, in what was a totally dominating performance from the Red Devils. They totally looked to be in control of the game and came in with a perfect game plan which they executed well.
The defeat leaves Tottenham just 4 points adrift of the league leaders, who are on 75 points after having played 32 games. Spurs have a better goal difference than Chelsea and hence any dip in form from the Blues would mean them losing their top spot to Tottenham.
Antonio Conte wholeheartedly took the blame and said that he failed to motivate the players enough.
He said: “I think Tottenham now are the best team, they are in good form and have a lot of enthusiasm. They are feeling the possibility to write history. I think we didn’t play a good game and United deserved to win the game because they showed more desire, motivation, and ambition. It’s very simple. But in this case the fault is the coach because it means the coach was not able to inspire the right motivation, the right ambition to win.”
Chelsea have lost two of their last four matches, having been beaten at home by Crystal Palace.
He added: “I think we lost two games but these two games were totally different. Against Crystal Palace we didn’t deserve to lose. Today we deserved to lose. We have to think there are six finals (the final six league games) from now until the end. The league is open and we have 50 percent probability to win the league. We must know this.”
Asked whether Chelsea were now feeling the pressure, Conte said:
“The pressure is normal. I prefer the pressure to fight for the title. We are lucky to have the pressure. Last season Chelsea did not have the pressure. Tenth place. We must understand this – that it’s really important what is happening this season. We are doing a great job, a miracle if you consider what happened last season.”
“I have concern because we have to work together and find quickly the right ambition to win this title – if someone thinks it’s normal for Chelsea to win the title, we started as underdogs after 10th place last season.
“Tottenham is in good form and playing with enthusiasm, we must find the same.”
Chelsea are sure to be under extreme pressure from now but their relatively easy fixture list, when compared to Tottenham, gives them hope of hanging on to their place.
Tottenham have a really difficult fixture list, where they face the in –form Crystal Palace. The Eagles managed to beat both Chelsea and Arsenal in recent weeks and hence Spurs will have to play their heart out to beat Palace. They also have to face Arsenal after that and surely, Tottenham cannot afford to take their foot off the gas.
They also have to play West Ham, Manchester United and a revamped Leicester City, with Hull City being the final team to face Tottenham for the second time in this league campaign.
Chelsea have already played against big teams and Everton seem to be the only ‘difficult’ opponent for the Blues in their final run-in. All the other fixtures can be termed as banana skins.
Surely, the title race is now wide open and it is going to be an extremely exciting finish to the Barclays Premier League 2016/17.
What’s your take? Chelsea or Tottenham?