Conte ac­cepts blame for United de­feat as Chelsea’s lead is trimmed

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page -

Chelsea man­ager An­to­nio Conte ac­cepted Tot­ten­ham were back in the ti­tle race af­ter suf­fer­ing a po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing loss at the hands of his pre­de­ces­sor Jose Mour­inho.

Goals from Mar­cus Ras­ford and An­der Her­rera con­demned the Premier League lead­ers to a 2-0 de­feat against Mour­inho’s Manch­ester United and left them just four points ahead of Spurs with six games to play.

Chelsea led the ta­ble by 10 points at the start of April and Conte, whose side were also beaten by Crys­tal Palace a fort­night ago, ac­cepted the blame for the lat­est slip-up.

The Ital­ian said: “I think that the im­pact was very tough today, but when you play at Old Traf­ford it is nor­mal to have this type of im­pact against a re­ally strong team as United.

Good game

“We didn’t play a good game and United de­served to win the game. They showed more de­sire, more am­bi­tion, more mo­ti­va­tion to win.

“It is very sim­ple, but in this case the fault is of the coach. It means the coach wasn’t able to trans­fer the right con­cen­tra­tion, de­sire, am­bi­tion to win this type of game.

“Against Crys­tal Palace we didn’t de­serve to lose, but today we de­served to lose the game.

“We have to think that there are six fi­nals from now un­til the end. The league is open and we have a 50 per cent prob­a­bil­ity to win the league.

“We will be good to fin­ish on top of the ta­ble and it means we de­serve this. Oth­er­wise we de­serve an­other thing.”

Conte in­sisted the pres­sure would not get to him.

He said: “The pres­sure is nor­mal. I pre­fer to play for the ti­tle in­stead of don’t fight for the ti­tle and stay calm. We are lucky to have the pres­sure.

“Last sea­son Chelsea had no pres­sure – 10th place and you play calm, and you are happy.

“We must have great en­thu­si­asm to play these last six games, with pa­tience and a great will to fight. If we are able to win I think we must be proud, other- wise we must clap an­other team.”

United’s per­for­mance was one of their best since Mour­inho took charge last sum­mer and the Por­tuguese praised his play­ers’ at­ti­tude.

He said: “I think we have had very good per­for­mances – Ar­se­nal here, Tot­ten­ham here, when we played re­ally well.

“But today I think was a spe­cial per­for­mance be­cause it’s also a spe­cial op­po­nent – the lead­ers, the way they play.

“I think we played re­ally well, a very solid per­for­mance. We gave them dou­ble prob­lems. We gave them prob­lems when they had the ball be­cause we con­trolled very well and we gave them prob­lems when we re­cov­ered the ball be­cause we were re­ally sharp and fast and ag­gres­sive in our tran­si­tions.

“So, I am very happy with the per­for­mance. Very happy.”

Mour­inho in­sisted he took no ex­tra sat­is­fac­tion from beat­ing his old club.

Dif­fer­ent rea­sons

He said: “No, the sat­is­fac­tion is for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The first rea­son is be­cause with Liver­pool and Manch­ester City vic­to­ries, if we don’t win today good­bye Premier League. These three points were phe­nom­e­nal.

“The sec­ond rea­son is be­cause it is leader. They are named Chelsea, but they could be named Ar­se­nal, or Tot­ten­ham, or an­other one.”

United have not lost in the league since Oc­to­ber, but re­main out­side the top four.

Mour­inho said: “Nor­mally you win the ti­tle if you are 22 matches un­beaten and we are strug­gling to fin­ish top four.

“Why? Every­body knows why be­cause we lost too many points at home. “But it’s a great feel­ing to know that it’s dif­fi­cult for us to lose a match, peo­ple fight un­til the end.”

Chelsea lined up with­out reg­u­lar goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois who picked up an an­kle in­jury dur­ing the week.

An­to­nio Conte: “We didn’t play a good game and United de­served to win”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.