‘Simply honest to say’ Chelsea not in title race
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte denied he was being negative when he said the club was not in the Premier League title race and insisted, after Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town, that he was simply being realistic.
Conte had reacted to Saturday’s 1-0 loss at West Ham United by saying Chelsea were not in a position to overhaul runaway leaders Manchester City and that his team’s bid had "never started".
Although a comfortable victory at the John Smith’s Stadium leaves Chelsea 11 points behind Manchester City, who played struggling Swansea City on Wednesday night, Conte does not believe it is realistic to talk of catching Pep Guardiola’s side.
"This is the truth. Manchester City, in 16 games, they have won 15 and drawn one. In 17 games, we have lost four games," the Italian said.
"When you have a competitor like Manchester City that every game they are winning, it is very difficult to think that you can fight for the title. You can say it’s negative or this is positive but it’s bulls***," Conte said.
"We must be realistic and to tell always the truth. I prefer to tell the truth rather than a good lie. I am this way. Sometimes I can be too honest but I like to speak very honestly with my players, with our fans also."
Conte added that the reality did not stop his team, who are also in the last 16 of the Champions League, from fighting until the end.
"It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to try to catch them but we have to hope to have a big slip [from City] and then for us to win every game — in this league. In this league don’t forget it is very difficult. In every game, you have to put 120% of yourself otherwise you risk dropping points," he said.
The former Juventus and Italy boss was pleased with the way his team had bounced back on Tuesday after the reverse against West Ham.
"We must be very happy for the performance because from the start of the game, we showed a great personality and desire to win the game against a very good team," he said. "They beat Manchester United and City struggled to win against them. To win this way is very important as it improves our confidence after a defeat against West Ham," he said.
West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew will decide on his transfer strategy by the end of the week and has confirmed that the club is interested in signing striker Danny Ings from Premier League rivals Liverpool in January.
Ings, who scored 43 goals for Burnley, joined Liverpool in 2015 but was sidelined for most of the last two seasons with knee injuries and made his first league appearance since October 2015 in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Everton.
"I’d be foolish to say I don’t like Danny Ings, because I quite like him," Pardew said. West Brom, who have not won a league match since August, have slipped to 18th in the standings and Pardew says he is acting as a psychologist to help his players deal with the pressure. "Yeah, me. I’m the psychologist," he said when asked if the club had employed one.