Conte: Win won’t see Chelsea’s title focus slip

Ian Watson

Antonio Conte insisted Chelsea are not taking the Premier League title for granted after moving 12 points clear of Arsenal.

Chelsea have won 16 of 18 Premier League games since losses to Liverpool and Arsenal in September and the Blues gained revenge over the Gunners with a comfortable 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

The victory maintains their nine-point gap over second-placed Spurs but Conte, a multiple Serie A winner as player and boss of Juventus, is taking nothing for granted.

“The league is not finished today,” he said.

“We must know that we must work and continue to work very hard if we want to realise a dream.

“I don’t slip and I don’t want my players to slip. In my squad I have a lot of players with good experience, because they won a lot in their careers.

“They know that until now we haven’t won the title. And it’s important to know this, to keep our antennae very high because in my career as a footballer, I won a lot, but I lost a lot.

“And when you lose three finals of the Champions League and you win only one, I think you have a great hunger.”

Conte lauded a fine team performance in an 11th straight home win, but had special praise for Hazard’s all-round game after his goal.

The Belgium playmaker picked the ball up in the centre circle, evaded Laurent Koscielny and brushed off Francis Coquelin before fooling Koscielny, again, and drilling in past Cech.

“Yes, he scored a great goal, but Eden I think today showed a great form, great shape,” Conte said.

“We all know his talent, his strength. He’s a really, really good, talented player.

“Today I’m pleased for his work, above all without the ball, defensively.

“He played with great attention, with great concentration. When we are able to work together in this way, it’s simple to try to win for us.”