Thinking Chelsea’s title challenge is down to no European football is 'a great mistake' says Antonio Conte

Miguel Delaney
Antonio Conte says there's more to Chelsea's title charge than having no European football: Getty

Antonio Conte says it would be a “great mistake” to think Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League is down to the lack of European football, saying his squad are “doing a great job”.

The Italian pointed to how he won the Serie A title in both situations at Juventus - with continental competition and without - as well as how Liverpool are in the same situation but are not competing.

The accusation has come up repeated times this season as Chelsea lie seven points clear at the top, especially from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho - who faces his old at Old Trafford on Sunday - but Conte completely rejected the idea.

“Yes, but I listen to this story from when I was the coach in Juventus in my first season,” the Chelsea boss said. “Yes, but I can tell you Liverpool are the same. For sure, we had more time to work with the team. This is my first season with a new club, and it's important to have more time to work and transfer your ideas of football.

"But if [people say] this is the only reason you stay on top of the table, it's a great mistake. We are doing a great job. We hope in the future to play the great competitions like the Champions League. I prefer this.”

Conte also insisted that there is no personal conflict between himself and Mourinho despite apparent tension around Chelsea’s two wins so far over United this season, saying it is purely sporting.

“Yes, yes. I have zero problems. It's only a sporting competition between him and me. There is a game of football. I want to try and win with my team. He wants to try and win with his team. It's normal to be a conflict during the game, but only a sporting conflict.”

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