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Conference Call: Another great team effort

Antonio Conte says the title race is far from over but that didn’t stop him enjoying his team’s performance against Arsenal today.

The boss saw a mixture of qualities on display that ensured we got the better of our London rivals, and he spoke about two of the goals afterwards as well as the way things have changed since the last time we met Arsenal.

First of all, though, he considered if our lead at the top of the table was unassailable…

‘No, because there are 14 games to play and 42 points to take,’ Conte pointed out.

‘For sure today it was important to win against our rival for the title. When you have this type of situation you must exploit it.

‘Arsenal showed us they are a great team with great players, and if you don’t play with good organisation, talent and will to fight, and with a good will to work together defensively and offensively, you risk losing this type of game.

‘We must be pleased with the great atmosphere we played in today. I am pleased for our fans to see us play this type of football.

‘Now it’s important to celebrate this win, but then, from tomorrow, it’s important to think about the next game against Burnley, a very dangerous team at home.

‘But the league is not finished today. We must continue to work very hard if we want to realise a dream.’

Marcos Alonso opened the scoring early on with Arsene Wenger saying it shouldn’t have stood

‘In England, in this league, this is always a goal. There was a ball, there was a contest, and Alonso jumped more than Bellerin and scored the goal.

‘To hear this in England I am surprised. In Italy? Maybe! This is the correct decision. We can see a lot of these situations in England. It’s normal.

‘If we were in other countries maybe we could have a conversation, but here I don’t think it’s right to talk about this.’

Eden Hazard doubled our advantage with a sublime individual goal, though it was his efforts elsewhere that most impressed Conte

‘He scored a great goal. He showed great shape today because if you haven’t a good shape, it’s very difficult to score this type of goal. We all know his talent and his strength. He’s a really, really talented player. He’s a really good man also, a good boy.

‘Today, above all, I am pleased for his work without the ball defensively. He played with great attention and concentration. When we are able to work together in this way it’s simple for us.’

The boss explained what he was saying to his assistant Angelo Alessio towards the end of the first half

‘Angelo Alessio is a victim, always! During the corner I wanted to change some positions, because in the second corner Arsenal put six men [forward] and we lost a man on the edge of the box. It was very dangerous. I tried to shout to my players, and then I said to my assistant “try to send the message to change the situation”.

‘When the message didn’t arrive and after the corner we risked them scoring a goal, I thought to send a message.

‘Angelo knows me very well, and my passion in this moment. It’s very important to keep the concentration, not only the players but the assistants and all the staff. We win and lose together.’

Conte contrasted our current state with that after the Emirates loss in September

‘It’s changed a lot. After the Liverpool and Arsenal defeats I remember in the press conference saying “we faced two great teams, and now we are not a team”. We were 11 players. In this way, anything can happen.

‘I remember my words. I also said we must show on the pitch we are a great team, not only because we are at Chelsea. Now we are showing this.

‘After that situation, the spirit, the will to be a team, the will to try something important this season totally changed.

‘We started to work on different aspects to improve. For sure now we are another team.’

Conte isn’t resting on his laurels with over a third of the season still to play

‘I don’t sleep and I don’t want my players to sleep.

‘In my squad, I have a lot of players with good experience who have won a lot in their career, and they know we haven’t won the title now.

‘In my career as a player, I won a lot, but I lost a lot. When you lose three Champions League finals and you win only one, you have great hunger. During my experience as a footballer I won a title with eight points more, and another time I lost in the same way.

‘For this reason, I think I have a bit of experience to manage this situation and try to keep our antennas very high.’

 

- You can watch Conte speaking to Chelsea TV after the game in the video below.

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