Belfast Telegraph

Antonio Conte insists Chelsea must take things one game at a time

Chelsea must fight to transform their season in a pivotal week ahead, according to boss Antonio Conte.

The Blues manager has told his Stamford Bridge players to go "game by game" in attempting to set their Premier League title defence back on track.

But former Italy boss Conte also conceded Chelsea must chase positive results at Roma and when hosting Manchester United - to hand their campaign a timely boost.

Chelsea could put one foot in the Champions League knockout stages with victory in Rome on Tuesday, before facing United on Sunday in a bid to cut their nine-point deficit on Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Asked if a positive week now could allow Chelsea to transform their season and deliver a timely pick-me-up, Conte replied: "But for sure we have to try to do this.

"It won't be easy, but first of all I think we have to go game by game.

"Now the most important game for us is Roma in the Champions League.

"Then after this game we must start to think about Manchester United."

Conte will take Chelsea to his homeland for the first time since leaving his post as Italy manager for Stamford Bridge in 2016.

The former Juventus midfielder insists his players can cope with whatever intimidating atmosphere awaits at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

Conte also downplayed any issues over the racist chanting directed at Antonio Rudiger in the 3-3 draw with Roma at Stamford Bridge on October 18.

Asked if he expected any repeat of those unsavoury chants against any of his players, Conte said: "No, I don't know. I think that Roma supporters are very passionate.

"I'm not sure about this. Roma's fans are very passionate, in the game you feel this.

"I have players with a good experience of facing this type of situation (experiencing intimidating atmospheres).

"We're there to play football, but we want to try to play better than in the first game."

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