Published: Mon, December 11, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Antonio Conte says Chelsea face fight to finish in top four

Antonio Conte says Chelsea face fight to finish in top four

While Manchester United are still hopeful of reeling in leaders Manchester City, many have already crowned Pep Guardiola's men champions elect. "There are six top teams and there are only four places for the Champions League and two places for the Europa League", he told reporters. "After 16 games, if you lose four games, it means we never started this race".

Marko Arnautovic struck in the sixth minute to secure West Ham's win with his first goal since joining the Hammers in July in a club record £24 million (S$43.4m) deal from Stoke City.

"I think you can justify the defeat against City as we played after two days (following a Champions League game)", he added.

The gap between City and Chelsea now stands at 14 points, but Conte insisted that the level of competition for a top-four finish means his players can not afford to take their eye off their domestic commitments regardless of how Monday's draw for the Champions League round of 16 pans out.

If you want to stay in the title race you can lose once or twice.

Conte made it clear he believes one of the reasons for his side's stuttering progress this season - unlike previous year, they have also had to contend with the demands of European football - is the lack of options in his squad.

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"I repeat, we have our target to try to play for one of the four places in next season's Champions League".

Former Manchester United and Everton midfielder Phil Neville has said that Chelsea had things easy last season, The Mail reports.

"We must learn to be more clinical, then to rest and recover more energy because it is not simple to play every three games".

It was Spurs' fourth successive four-goal win over Stoke, making Mauricio Pochettino's side the first team to have won by four goals in four consecutive English top-flight meetings with the same opponents.

"It is not right to lose confidence and also don't forget today we shot 19 times but we didn't score", he said. We started with a defeat at home to Burnley. "We are a team and we must improve as a team".

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