Antonio Conte sends difficult message to Chelsea fans about title defence

The Chelsea boss admits it was always going to be difficult to defend their Premier League title

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte Photo: Screen grab

Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea were always going to find it difficult to defend their Premier League title this season.

The defending champions lost 3-2 to Burnley in their opening Premier League fixture of the 2017-18 season at Stamford Bridge to cast doubt on their title challenge this term.

However, Conte’s side went unbeaten in their next five Premier League games to get their title defence back on track despite having to settle for a goalless draw with Arsenal.

Chelsea had the chance to move level on points with Manchester City if the title holders managed to beat the Citizens in front of their home supporters at Stamford Bridge.

However, former Blues midfielder Kevin De Bruyne scored a second-half winner to secure three points for the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea trail the Citizens and Manchester United by six points after seven games to leave Conte’s men with some work to do to become the first Premier League team to retain the title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils side in 2009.

Speaking to Chelsea’s website about the size of the task facing his players in the title race, Conte admitted that the Blues will have to overcome a tough challenge.

“At Juventus we won the title against a really strong side like AC Milan, but the next season Milan sold Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic, and they were weaker,” Conte said.

“It wasn’t simple, but it was easier. Here, if you compare this season with last season, you can see that you have big teams last season and now they are bigger.”

Conte added: “I think last season we did a really great job because we won the league against really strong teams.

“Manchester City last season was also a fantastic team. Now, after a great transfer market they improved a lot.

It’s not simple to play in this league, but we have to try to do our best in every game, with great ambition, because we must always have the right ambition.”

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