Antonio Conte tells Mauricio Pochettino he has no excuse for failing to win trophy at Tottenham

simon johnson

Antonio Conte has told Mauricio Pochettino that he no longer has an excuse for failing to win a trophy at Tottenham.

Pochettino has claimed that his side will be the underdogs when they take on Conte's Chelsea outfit in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Spurs go into the match with the best form of any Premier League side in 2017 and have closed the gap to the Blues at the top of the table to just four points.

Conte, who took over a Chelsea side that finished a lowly 10th last term - 20 points behind Spurs, has dismissed Pochettino's claims.

He said: "I think that Tottenham must be considered at the top, because Tottenham now is a really great power in English football.

"They have been working (under Pochettino) three years and I think it’s the right moment to not consider them the underdog and have this excuse.

"They are a great team and for the second year in a row are fighting for the title. Last year they missed this.

"This year they are trying again and I think in the future they will fight every year for the title because they are full of strong players and they are building something important.

"There is a moment where you have to finish to be considered. I think this is the right moment (for them)."

Tottenham players have suggested that they can inflict a major psychological blow on Chelsea in the League by beating them in the Cup.

Both sides have fixtures the following midweek, with Chelsea playing Southampton and Spurs taking on Crystal Palace.

But Conte added: "I think these are two different competitions. The FA Cup is a great competition, great tradition, the oldest competition in the world, very important for the country, and then there is the League. I don’t think if one team wins or loses it can affect the other competition."

Should the Italian go on to claim both competitions, he will emulate Carlo Ancelotti, who also claimed the Double in his first season in charge of the west London club seven years ago.

"You must always hope and work to reach this target, but I think my situation, if you compare my situation with Ancelotti’s situation, is totally different," he said.

"We started our work to put the foundation and to build something important. I think in that moment, that was the foundation."