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Conte declares Spurs as Premier League’s best team

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Chelsea’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte leaves the pitch at the end of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 16, 2017. Oli SCARFF / AFP

Antonio Conte conceded that Tottenham Hotspur are currently the best team in the Premier League and claimed that Chelsea now only have a “50 per cent” chance of winning the title.

Following the defeat to Manchester United that cut Chelsea’s lead to four points Conte also blamed himself for failing to motivate his players – but insisted it would still be a “miracle” if they were crowned champions this season having finished 10ththe season before.

“I think Tottenham now are the best team, they are in good form and have a lot of enthusiasm. They are feeling the possibility to write history,” Conte said as he castigated himself for Chelsea’s performance. “I think we didn’t play a good game and United deserved to win the game because they showed more desire, motivation and ambition,” he said. “It’s very simple. But in this case the fault is the coach because it means the coach was not able to inspire the right motivation, the right ambition to win.”

Chelsea have lost two of their last four matches – having been beaten at home by Crystal Palace. “I think we lost two games but these two games were totally different,” Conte added.

“Against Crystal Palace we didn’t deserve to lose. Today we deserved to lose. We have to think there are six finals (the final six league games) from now until the end. The league is open and we have 50 per cent probability to win the league. We must know this.”

Asked whether Chelsea were now feeling the pressure, Conte added: “The pressure is normal. I prefer the pressure to fight for the title. We are lucky to have the pressure. Last season Chelsea did not have the pressure. Tenth place. We must understand this – that it’s really important what is happening this season. We are doing a great job, a miracle if you consider what happened last season.”

Conte said the title remained a “fantastic target” for his players and again reiterated it would be an incredible achievement after last season. “I have concern because we have to work together and find quickly the right ambition to win this title – if someone thinks it’s normal for Chelsea to win the title, we started as underdogs after 10th place last season.

“Tottenham is in good form and playing with enthusiasm, we must find the same.” Interestingly goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who played because of injury to Thibaut Courtois, admitted that United showed more determination to win. “I think the defeat is down to a combination of things. United were more aggressive, they won second balls and probably wanted it more,” he said.



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