After the important win in the derby against West Ham tonight Chelsea boss Antonio Conte claims he trusts his players for what is remaining in this title race.
Eleven games to go and Chelsea ( 66) are keeping a ten points gap on Spurs, who sit second in the table with 56, and 11 on Manchester City ( 55) who, anyway, got a game in hand:
“West Ham started very well, you have to manage this kind of games, ” the Italian manager said in the press conference after the final whistle.
“To me, Hammers are really strong, [they got a] good coach, good players.
“Don’t forget West Ham v Chelsea is a derby and these games are always difficult, we were good in managing the game in the beginning and then to score a goal and control the match.
“It was a pity to give away the clean sheet in the end of the game, like against Arsenal. It the second time it happens to us and we have to improve in this kind of situations, to keep the clean sheet is important.
“It’s not easy to play after tour rivals [ in title race] won, because you know that if you don’t win and drop points you give hope to them [for the title race].
“I am very pleased for my players, we performed very well, we controlled the game. Our defenders defended very well, especially the long balls for Carroll.
Conte was asked if now that Chelsea seem in control of the title race will have more pressure since they cannot drop points or make mistakes:
“I think this period has started, because now there are “only* 11 games, even if for me are a lot.
In this period is very important to leave the pressure away, when you play a game after your rival won the day before it’s not easy.
“I am pleased for the commitment and mentality of my players, we were really compact, we didn’t give West Ham many chances to score, we controlled the game, I guess sometimes it’s better to score more when you have the chance to increase the score.
“Honestly we scored two good goals, but I guess today we created more chances to score other goals, it’s important to seal the games before, when you are winning 1-0 or 2-0 in PL anything can happen. I think if West Ham scored in minute 85 instead than 92 we could be in trouble, so this is the reason why we need to be more cynical before.
The Italian coach was also asked if he trusts his players in what is left of this title race:
“I must have confidence we don’t drop 10 points gap, we’re deserving to stay on top of the table and now that we stay there it’s important to continue to keep this position, it was important that Arsenal and Manchester United dropped points, because now the rivals [for the title] start to be less.
“I listen to the other managers and they believe they can win, it’s fair to have this ambition.
“But its’ important also for us to have this ambition and not lose it. I trust my players because they are showing me great commitment also during the week, in the training sessions, [they got] great will to work very hard, to improve, to improve our work.
Conte was asked about the importance of N’Golo Kante in this team:
“I knew that he made 50 passes and made 5 mistakes, he has to improve in this [ he jokes].
“Actually, I have to find one situation where he can improve, he’s a really good player, he’s got a great stamina but also great quality, I’m pleased for him but I think all my players performed very well.
“Now it’s important to rest tomorrow and then to start to prepare Manchester United game, FA Cup is another target for us, they are a good team, with good players and good quality.”
The Italian was also asked about the importance of Eden Hazard:
“He’s a really important player for us, great technique, great talent, he’s better when he plays btw the lines and go 1 v1 to beat his opponents and score, we got other good players that can score in counter attacks, like Pedro, Willian, Diego Costa, but also Eden can be good there. We all know how good he is.”