Antonio Conte admits missing out on top four is a possibility

Date published: Sunday 25th February 2018 6:47

Antonio Conte criticised his players for allowing a lead to slip away against Manchester United and accepted Chelsea may struggle to finish in the top four.

Willian deservedly put the visitors ahead at Old Trafford and Chelsea dominated possession but Romelu Lukaku quickly equalised and substitute Jesse Lingard headed in the winner with 15 minutes remaining.

The result, coupled with Tottenham’s victory over Crystal Palace, left Chelsea in fifth place in the Premier League table, while United climbed back above Liverpool into second.

Conte said: “For sure we must be disappointed for the final result. I think today we had a good chance to get three points against a competitor for a place in Champions League but at the end we are talking about another defeat and we must be disappointed because when you have this type of situation you have to manage the game better and you must be able with experience, with maturity, to get three points.”

Asked what it would say about Chelsea if they do not qualify for the Champions League, Conte said: “I don’t know but this could be a possibility for sure.

“I am repeating the same concept many times but in this league to find a place in Champions League is not simple. There is this risk to stay out of the Champions League. We must be ready to fight, to be concentrated and to understand that this target is an important target for us but it won’t be easy.”

There was as much attention on the touchline as the pitch given the history between Mourinho and Conte but the animosity between the two men was put aside as they shook hands before and after the match.

Mourinho said: “The handshake doesn’t need any words. I think that is what me and Antonio want to show to everyone. Mourinho and Conte they are not two ordinary persons in football. We have a history, we have an image, and I’m really happy with that.”

Conte added: “He wanted to shake hands and we did this.”

 


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