Conte urge Chelsea to keep feet on the ground

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

CHELSEA man­ager An­to­nio Conte warned his play­ers to re­main grounded af­ter they re­turned to the Premier League sum­mit cour­tesy of a gritty 2-1 vic­tory at home to Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

Chris­tian Erik­sen fired Spurs ahead at Stam­ford Bridge yes­ter­day, but Pe­dro Ro­driguez – with a glo­ri­ous curler – and Vic­tor Moses scored either side of half­time to give Chelsea a sev­enth suc­ces­sive League win.

The win took Chelsea back above Liver­pool and Manch­ester City, who wel­come Conte’s side to the Eti­had Sta­dium this week­end, but the Ital­ian said it was far too early to think about the ti­tle.

“I think that to­day or in this pe­riod, if you talk about this, it is not right be­cause we have to im­prove a lot and we have a long way in front of us,” Conte said.

“Above all af­ter this type of game we have to wait, to speak, to not write things (in the me­dia). It’s im­por­tant to stay hum­ble, to con­tinue to work, to trust in our work... above all af­ter this type of game, be­cause we won a game against a re­ally strong team.

“On Satur­day we’ll have an­other strong team and we don’t for­get that against Arse­nal and Liver­pool we lost.”

While Conte cited the back-to-back de­feats against Arse­nal and Liver­pool in Septem­ber, he said his side were now “an­other team”.

Chelsea have been trans­formed since Conte switched to a 3-4-3 for­ma­tion dur­ing the 3-0 de­feat at Arse­nal and Erik­sen’s goal was the first they had con­ceded in 601 min­utes of top-flight foot­ball.

Both man­agers agreed the dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams had been their ef­fi­ciency in the penalty area, with Chelsea weath­er­ing a first-half storm to take con­trol of the game af­ter the break.

Spurs’ high press caused Chelsea se­ri­ous prob­lems in the first half, but Conte said he would con­tinue to ask his play­ers to play the ball out from the back.

“We are work­ing for only four months on some as­pects. I want to play from the back and I ask this of my play­ers,” he said.

“If some­one thinks the fault is the play­ers – no, the fault is mine, al­ways. I want to do and see some sit­u­a­tions that we work on dur­ing the train­ing ses­sions. I want to see this.

“I re­peat we can im­prove a lot, start­ing from the back, but it’s im­por­tant to start.”

Tot­ten­ham man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino has seen his side knocked out of the Cham­pi­ons League by Monaco and lose their un­beaten League record to Chelsea in the space of just five days.

Their loss at Stam­ford Bridge, where they have gone 30 games with­out vic­tory, left them seven points be­low Chelsea in fifth place in the ta­ble.

But de­spite his team hav­ing won just one of their last 10 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions, Po­chet­tino said he had no con­cerns about their form.

“No worry, no con­cern about noth­ing,” he told re­porters.

“I think that af­ter that game you need to feel proud. The ef­fort was bril­liant. We come from Monaco. That was dif­fi­cult, that was tough to be out of the Cham­pi­ons League.

“But the an­swer of the play­ers was clear: right men­tal­ity, good per­for­mance.

“We were bet­ter, but we lost. I can un­der­stand that.

“If you want to analyse only the re­sult, it’s 2-1 for Chelsea, con­grat­u­la­tions. But if you analyse the 94 min­utes, I think Tot­ten­ham did a lot of pos­i­tive things.

“But in foot­ball you need to score and de­fend your goal well and if not, that’s what hap­pens.” – AFP

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