Simply honest to say Chelsea not in title race, says Antonio Conte

Chelsea saw a defeat at the hands of West Ham, but came back strongly this week to win 3-1 against Huddersfield.

By: Reuters | Updated: December 13, 2017 10:29:41 am
Chelsea are defending champions. Chelsea are currently placed third in the EPL table behind 11 points behind leaders Manchester City. (AP)

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte denied he was being negative when he said the club were not in the Premier League title race and insisted, after Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town, that he was simply being realistic. Conte had reacted to Saturday’s 1-0 loss at West Ham United, by saying Chelsea were not in a position to overhaul runaway leaders Manchester City and that his team’s bid had “never started”.

Although a comfortable victory at the John Smith’s Stadium leaves Chelsea 11 points behind Manchester City, who visit struggling Swansea City on Wednesday, Conte does not believe it is realistic to talk of catching Pep Guardiola’s side. “This is the truth. Manchester City in 16 games they have won 15 and drawn one. In 17 games, we have lost four games,” said the Italian.

“When you have a competitor like Manchester City that every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think that you can fight for the title. You can say it’s negative or this is positive but its bullshit,” said Conte. “We must be realistic and to tell always the truth. I prefer to tell the truth rather than a good lie. I am this way. Sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players, with our fans also,” he said.

Conte added that the reality did not stop his team, who are also in the last 16 of the Champions League where they will face Barcelona in February, from fighting till the end. “It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope to have a big slip (from City) and then for us to win every game — in this league.

“In this league don’t forget it is very difficult. In every game you have to put 120 percent of yourself otherwise you risk dropping points,” he said. The former Juventus and Italy boss was pleased with the way his team had bounced back on Tuesday after the West Ham reverse with goals from Tiemoue Bakayoko, Willian and Pedro.

“I think we must be very happy for the performance because from the start of the game we showed a great personality and desire to win the game against a very good team,” he said. “They beat Manchester United and City struggled to win against them. To win this way is very important as it improves our confidence after a defeat against West Ham,” he said.

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