Friday, August 18, 2017

Premier League a six-way race, according to Conte

SoccerNews in English Premier League 10 Feb 2017

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Antonio Conte is refusing to let Chelsea’s guard drop as the Italian guides the club towards Premier League glory, insisting there are still five other teams in the race.

Chelsea head into Sunday’s trip to Burnley with a nine-point lead over second-placed Tottenham, with Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United making up the remainder of the top six.

With only 14 matches remaining, Conte seems destined to lead the Blues to the club’s fifth Premier League crown in his first season in charge.

But the Italian remains cautious, standing firm in his belief that even sixth-placed United, 14 points adrift, can lay claim to a realistic chance of unseating the leaders.

“Honestly I think there are six teams who are very strong who can fight to win the title,” he said in Friday’s media conference.

“United have a great squad who they trust in a title battle and we must know this because if we think we are very close to winning the title it’s a great mistake.

“There are 14 games to play, and there are six teams who can fight until the end to win the title.”

To underline his point, Conte alluded to the fortunes of Sunday’s hosts, who have taken 28 of their 29 points this season at home – the third best record behind Chelsea and Spurs.

“In England if you ask me before the game ‘are you calm, is this an easy game?’ My reply is always the same,” Conte said.

“There aren’t easy games in England, we have a lot of examples of teams at the bottom winning so for this reason it’s great to have great concentration and focus, and be ready to fight.

“The stats show Burnley are really strong at home. They’ve won their last five [home] games and they score a lot at the end of the game.

“They’re in good form, they want to beat us but we are preparing very well and my players know really well the game that we have to face.

“We must pay great attention because it’s unusual to have Burnley in third in the home table. It’s a fantastic achievement for them and I’ve warned my players because if you don’t face this game in the right way anything can happen.”

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