Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists it is too early to talk about a potential Premier League title challenge.
The 2014-15 champions moved to within a point of leaders Manchester City with a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Former United boss Alex Ferguson did not name Chelsea among the title contenders when asked for his view this week, despite having witnessed the emphatic defeat of his old side last weekend.
Yet with just a single point separating the top five after only nine matches, Conte believes it is pointless to discuss who will be challenging for the trophy in May.
“A win or a defeat does not change my ideas or the confidence of the players. This system is a good fit,” Conte, whose side were knocked out of the EFL Cup by West Ham on Wednesday, told a news conference.
“We shouldn’t look at the table but just concentrate on training and the next match – that will lead to improvement. This league is very difficult and anything can happen.
“It is important to get consistency and trust in the work. There are five teams that are very close but we shouldn’t look at the table. It is too early to talk about the table and the title.”
Chelsea, who have won their last three league matches without conceding a goal, travel to in-form Southampton on Sunday looking to extend a run of just one defeat in eight away league meetings against Claude Puel’s side.
Conte confirmed that midfielder Cesc Fabregas will not be involved, but the Italian could include both Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry in his side.
“The situation is the same as before [West Ham]. Fabregas is not available, but Ivanovic is fully recovered,” he said.
“John came back from an injury and it’s not easy to find the right shape, but I’m satisfied with him and the team.
“John is an important player for us – if he plays or he doesn’t – for the changing room and the club.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!