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Conte: Chelsea can maintain table-topping form

Antonio Conte is confident Chelsea have the physical and technical capability to cope with the Premier League’s hectic schedule after going top of the table.

A 1-0 victory at Middlesbrough on Sunday – secured by Diego Costa’s 10th league goal of the season – was Chelsea’s sixth in succession without conceding a goal.

Boro boss Aitor Karanka labelled the Blues as title favourites before the game, owing much to their lack of European commitments.

And Conte says a pre-season of hard work is beginning to bear fruit for his ominously in-form side.

“I think that we are ready,” Conte told a news conference. “We are ready to play many games in a few days because from the start of the season we worked a lot, not only on tactical aspect but also on the physical aspect.

“We continue to work because in this league it’s important to have, in every game, high intensity and to run from the start until the end.

“Also [it is important] to have good technique, good talent, but if you link these two things [with good fitness], for me it’s important.”

Chelsea had scored 16 goals without reply in their previous five league wins, but were made to sweat for three points at the Riverside by a well-organised Boro team.

Conte added: “This game was different compared to the other games. When you’re winning only 1-0 you have to pay attention to the end because Middlesbrough can reach the draw – and against [Manchester] City this happened.

“But the thing is, this game gave us confidence and increases our trust in the work, our trust in what we are doing.

“But now I repeat it’s important to think about the next game against Tottenham, [it is a] tough game, a massive game.”

Sun 20 Nov, 2016
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