Chelsea’s trip to Leicester City on Saturday must be the starting point for the Premier League leaders to embark on another winning run, says Antonio Conte.
A stuttering September saw the Blues lose to Liverpool and Arsenal following a draw against Swansea City, but Conte’s side responded with a stunning 13-match winning league run.
However, Chelsea were stopped in their tracks by rivals Tottenham last time out in the Premier League as Dele Alli’s double inspired a 2-0 victory.
Despite the defeat, Chelsea remain five points clear of nearest challengers Liverpool, but boss Conte has demanded a response similar to the one his side showed following the defeat to Arsenal.
“I think the Leicester game is very important,” he told his pre-match media conference. “It’s important for us to restart, to restart to win.
“This game will be very tough, because Leicester are the champions of last season. They have a lot of good players, with good quality. They impress me.
“For this reason it’s important to play with great attention. We want to restart in the league, to try to win, to restart the win. Then only after the game we’ll know if we’ve restarted or not.
“We have two targets now. We play in two competitions, FA Cup and the league.”
Leicester have endured a difficult defence of their famous title win from last season, but Conte remains impressed by Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes.
“Leicester played the group stages in the Champions League in a fantastic way,” he added. “And they went in the next game as first in their group. It’s a great achievement for them.
“For Leicester it’s fantastic to continue to play [in the] Champions League, above all after a great season like last season.
“I’m not surprised [by their form] because this league is very tough. For sure I consider Leicester a really good team, with good players. A good mix. They have a great manager. But it can happen, this, in this league. Don’t forget, Chelsea last season.”
Conte also had kind words for his opposite number Ranieri, revealing his compatriot had helped him settle into life in England.
“Claudio is a really great manager, a really great man,” he said. “I’m proud to know him and sometimes to call him to speak.
“His experience here is very important for me. I ask him a lot of situations. As I always said, to arrive in a new country, to find a new habit, a new language is not easy. If you have another opinion, above all if this person is someone you respect a lot, it’s important. This type of chat helped me a lot.”
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