English Premiership

Conte hails 'big step' towards title

2017-04-06 10:23
Antonio Conte (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said his side had taken a "big step" towards the Premier League title after their 2-1 defeat of Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Eden Hazard scored twice in the first half, sandwiching an equaliser by Sergio Aguero, as Chelsea returned to winning ways following Saturday's shock 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace.

It left Conte's side seven points clear of second-place Tottenham Hotspur with eight games of the season remaining.

"(It was) another step - a big step - against a great team. They have a lot of qualities," Conte told BT Sport.

"I think we showed to be a great team, to win a difficult game after a defeat against Crystal Palace.

"It wasn't easy to reply very well in this way. I'm satisfied for this, but we have to continue this way.

"We must think that Tottenham could win all their games. We need 18 points to win the title. I think we are playing a great season, but to win the title there is a long way to go."

Defeat left City 14 points below Chelsea in fourth place and beaten manager Pep Guardiola said his side's title hopes were now over.

"The Premier League is gone now. It will be between Tottenham and Chelsea," he said.

"So now we want to (get in) the Champions League places."

City occupy the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot and are four points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United, but both teams have a game in hand on them.

Guardiola has been beaten six times in a league season for the first time in his managerial career, but he said he was proud of his players.

"It's an honour to have the amazing players I have," said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.

"We come here to Stamford Bridge and play the way we have, with huge personality. I'm a lucky guy to manage these guys.

"It's encouraging for the future. I'm optimistic. It's been like this all season, but in the boxes we are not good enough."

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Saturday, 26 August 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Vitality Stadium 13:30
Crystal Palace v Swansea City, Selhurst Park 16:00
Newcastle United v West Ham United, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Southampton, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Leicester City, Old Trafford 18:30
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Chelsea v Everton, Stamford Bridge 14:30
West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City, The Hawthorns 14:30
Liverpool v Arsenal, Anfield 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Saturday, 09 September 2017
Manchester City v Liverpool, Etihad Stadium 13:30
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur, Goodison Park 16:00
Leicester City v Chelsea, King Power Stadium 16:00
Southampton v Watford, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Bromwich Albion, The American Express Community Stadium 16:00
Stoke City v Manchester United, Bet365 Stadium 18:30
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