Chelsea boss Antonio Conte hints that Tottenham have a history of accepting second best

simon johnson
In the driving seat: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: Getty Images

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has seemingly begun the mind games with title rivals Tottenham by suggesting no-one will be surprised if the north London club fail to win the Premier League this season.

Spurs are Chelsea's closest challengers and could close the gap at the top to four points should they win at Swansea tomorrow night and Conte's men lose at home to Manchester City.

Chelsea are looking to lift the Premier League trophy for a fifth time in 13 years, whereas Spurs have been crowned champions of England just twice in their history, the last of which was in 1961.

Conte has hinted that Tottenham have a history of accepting second best, unlike Chelsea in recent years.

He said: "I think the difference between Chelsea and Tottenham is this: if you stay in Chelsea and win it's normal.

"If you stay in Tottenham, if you win it's great, great, but if you lose it's not a disaster because you find a lot of situations to explain a good season.

"In this season, us and Tottenham stay in the same level. Chelsea were underdogs at the start of the season, but now we are top and we want to keep this position.”

Chelsea go into the Manchester City game under a bit of pressure as they lost their previous home game on Saturday against Crystal Palace.

But Conte, who was named Chelsea boss exactly one year ago, feels his side already have a lot to be proud of whatever happens tomorrow because they have led the table for five months.

He added: "It's important to see the result tomorrow. But this run must give you enjoyment. It must make you proud to be in this run.

"Also because, don't forget nobody thought Chelsea, in this season, would fight for the title. Don't forget this. But we are trying to change the situation."

Victor Moses is unlikely to recover from a calf injury in time to play, so Conte has a selection dilemma.

He played Pedro at right wing back instead against Crystal Palace and the Spain international was partly at fault for both goals Chelsea conceded.

Manchester City have in-form Leroy Sane playing on that flank and Conte admits he's yet to decide what he will do.

“I don't know (if Pedro will play at right wing back)," he said. "I have to check a couple of situations for my players, and then decide.

"Pedro, I think, is playing very well and having a fantastic season. I hope he continues in this way.

"He showed me great attitude and commitment if he plays as a striker, or as a wing-back. Saturday he played a really good game.

"But I repeat, I have to check a couple of situations and make the best decision for the starting XI.”