Belfast Telegraph

Conte is cool as battling Burnley stall Chelsea charge

Burnley 1-1 Chelsea

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Antonio Conte insisted that he was compelled to be "disappointed" with Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Burnley by his own winning mentality.

Chelsea extended their lead over Tottenham and Arsenal to 10 points with a draw in a difficult game.

Conte's side appeared to be on their way to a 17th win in 19 league games when Pedro fired them into a deserved early lead.

But Burnley, chasing an eighth straight win at Turf Moor in all competitions, hit back through Robbie Brady's stunning free-kick on his full debut and demonstrated why they have one of the best home records in the top flight this season.

Conte said that he could not be happy with the result, even as his team edged slowly closer to the title.

"I am disappointed because our mentality must be that we have to try always to win," Conte said after the game at Turf Moor.

"I saw great commitment from the teams. For sure, we must be a bit disappointed to take only one point. We put a lot of energy on the pitch. We took only one point, and we must be a bit disappointed at this, for our mentality. I'm disappointed because I like to win, I always like to take three points, and my players are like this."

While Conte was frustrated that Chelsea drew the game 1-1, he applauded the fact that his players pushed for the win in difficult circumstances. "We want to try to win every game," Conte said. "Today we tried to play football, we tried to create situations. We found a team that tried to disrupt our football, to play these long balls and to fight the second balls. Sometimes you must understand that there are tough games, but I'm pleased because we tried to win."

Conte again insisted, as he did on Friday, that the top six all still have a chance of winning the Premier League, as unlikely as that now looks. "There are 13 games before the end of the season," Conte said. "If someone thinks the league is finished, I can tell you now, no, there are six teams for me that could win the league. Anything can happen until the end of the season. We must continue to work in this way, to fight, to try to win."

Conte, clearly, is trying to defuse anything that could create unwanted attention as he homes in on the title. He did not comment on Ashley Barnes' elbow on Cesar Azpilicueta.

"Usually I don't like to speak about these situations," Conte said, "I prefer not to comment." When asked about Jose Mourinho's taunt that Chelsea were defensive and relied on counter-attacks, Conte would not engage in that either. "I don't like to reply to other coaches, to this jokey play," Conte said.

Despite the game that Chelsea had to play, up against Burnley's long balls, Conte said that he was full of respect for his opponents. "I have great respect for every type of football, I don't like to judge any other," Conte said. "Burnley, in the table of home results, is third with 29 points. It means they are doing a great job, that is the best compliment for them."

Dyche responded with praise for Chelsea and Conte, but joked that he did not know who Joey Barton was before the game.

"I am not sure their manager knew about [Barton]," Dyche laughed. "I thought everyone on earth knew Joey. And if they don't, he will make sure they do. He has come back in, he knows the expectation and he is delivering as he has done for a while, apart from his break."

Belfast Telegraph


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