Antonio Conte believes that he is under more pressure to win the Premier League title this season than Mauricio Pochettino because Chelsea have greater expectations of success than Tottenham.
Spurs took full advantage of Chelsea’s shock 2-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday by beating Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor to narrow the Blues’ lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points with nine matches remaining, and Pochettino insists his team can still end the season as champions.
Conte says Chelsea have surprised many by surging clear at the top of the table, but claims that finishing first would be “normal” by the standards his club have set in the Roman Abramovich era, while a runners-up place would still be regarded as a positive step at White Hart Lane.
“I think the difference between Chelsea and Tottenham is this: If you are at Chelsea and win it’s normal,” Conte explained. “If are at Tottenham, if you win it’s great, great, but if you lose … it’s not a disaster, no? Not a disaster. Because you can find a lot of situations to explain a good season.
“But in this season, us and Tottenham stay at the same level. Chelsea were underdogs [for the title] at the start of the season, but now we are top and we want to keep this position.”
Asked if he feels the Premier League title race has become a two-team battle between Chelsea and Tottenham, Conte added: “I think you have to put also Manchester City in this [race]. It’s important to see the result [at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday].
“But this [race] must give you enjoyment. It must make you proud, also because nobody thought Chelsea, in this season, would fight for the title.”