Antonio Conte told Chelsea need to hold their nerve in title race

Spurs legend Garth Crooks offers Chelsea manager Antonio Conte some advice in the title race

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: Screen grab

Garth Crooks has urged Antonio Conte to hold his nerve despite Chelsea facing an uphill challenge in the Premier League title race.

The defending champions have ground to make up following a disappointing start to the Premier League campaign following three defeats in 10 games.

Chelsea suffered surprise losses against Burnley and Crystal Palace to raise questions about the Blues’ ability to retain their Premier League crown.

The title holders lost 1-0 to Premier League leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge following Kevin De Bruyne’s winner.

The west London side will have the chance to gain some ground on title challengers Manchester United next weekend when their former manager Jose Mourinho brings his Red Devils side to Stamford Bridge.

Former Spurs forward Crooks has told Conte to retain his poise despite Chelsea trailing the Premier League leaders by a nine-point margin.

“Chelsea are nine points behind Manchester City, and retaining the title looks like a big ask,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“Nevertheless, manager Antonio Conte must hold his nerve. Responding in your pre-match news conference in an explosive manner in order to defend your position as the manager only feeds into the narrative.

“Talk of players not liking his training methods, or available managers wanting his job is salacious industry gossip.”

Chelsea won the Premier League title with two games to spare last season after the Blues finished seven points clear of runners-up Tottenham.

The west London side have won the title in two of the past three seasons.

The Blues lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley last term before losing to the Gunners on penalties in the Community Shield.

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