Antonio Conte believes Chelsea did enough to secure at least a point from their surprising 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday (1 April). Yet, the Italian boss refused to blame the referee for not awarding his side a penalty during the game, while urging his side to bounceback when Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Cesc Fabregas put Chelsea on course for an easy victory after scoring a goal in the fifth minute of the game. However, two goals from Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke within six minutes turned the score around and handed Palace the three points.
The Blues had a number of chances to get a draw, but goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey saved all them to give Chelsea their second defeat of the campaign at Stamford Bridge.
"I think today we deserved at least a draw," Conte said in the press conference. "I don't want to say a win, but at least a draw. We created many chances to score, we dominated the game against a very strong team with really good players. It's a pity, but it wasn't our day."
The Premier League leaders had a penalty claim rejected before half-time after a shot from Pedro struck Andros Townsend on the arm.
However, Conte said: "Honestly, at the moment I haven't seen it. For sure there was something but it's right to accept the decision of the referee."
The Italian manager neither used the absence of Victor Moses as an excuse as he believes that Pedro did a great job in the right-back, having already played in that position in the FA Cup.
"Victor Moses is an important player because he's having a great season, but Pedro played very well in that wing-back position," Conte stated. "As wingers, they are very offensive and that showed we wanted to play our football. Pedro had a very good game."
The defeat leaves the Blues only seven points ahead of Tottenham in the Premier League table after Spurs won 2-0 at Burnley.
Conte urged his side to put the defeat against Palace behind them by returning to winning ways when City visit Chelsea on Wednesday.
"We have to play on Wednesday against Manchester City and we all know the strength of their team, but for now the most important thing is to rest and recover well. We must prepare in the right way," Conte said. "Every game will be very tough from now until the end, whether the opponent is Man City or a team fighting near the relegation zone.
"For you (the media) it's a good result because it makes the championship more interesting, but I always said the league is finished when mathematically you have won it, otherwise you must play every game to try to win because in England there are no easy matches."
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