Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says his team has made far greater progress since the summer than second-place Tottenham Hotspur after the league leaders re-established the gap to Spurs in second place to seven points with a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth.
Conte conceded that his team felt pressure with Tottenham having closed the gap to four points with a 4-0 win over Watford in the lunchtime kick-off, and he also asked that Chelsea be judged against last season’s performance.
He pointed out that he inherited a team that finished tenth in the league last year and now require five victories from seven games to win the title.
Conte said: “Don't forget that last season Tottenham fought for the title until the end. That means they are a really good team. Last season Chelsea were tenth and now we are top of the table.
“I think Tottenham had two or three new players [in the summer] and are stronger than last season. It's important to understand this. It's important to compare teams the right way.”
Conte’s team benefited from an Adam Smith own goal, and then a fine goal from Eden Hazard before Josh King pulled one back for Bournemouth. Marcos Alonso scored a second half free-kick to seal the victory.
Conte said that the pressure of Spurs’ pursuit is not a problem for him. He said: “I like the pressure, I live off pressure. I don't see pressure, I put pressure [on]. I think pressure gives you the best of yourself.”