02 Mar Antonio Conte admits Manchester City are ‘unstoppable’
Antonio Conte claims Manchester City are “unstoppable” as the Italian appeared to lament Chelsea’s failure to match his own ambition as a “winner”.
The Blues, Premier League champions in Conte’s first season last term, are 22 points behind Sunday’s opponents.
Pep Guardiola’s side, Carabao Cup winners last Sunday and 3-0 winners at Arsenal on Thursday night, have a 16-point lead entering this weekend’s fixtures.
“In this moment they seem unstoppable,” Conte said on Friday.
“We must have great admiration. Sometimes it’s very difficult to find a weakness in this team.”
City finished third, 15 points behind Chelsea, in Guardiola’s first season in charge, but now are champions-elect.
Asked the reason for the turnaround in such a short space of time, Conte’s answer hinted at his season-long frustration with Chelsea.
“When you work very well and there is a great feeling between the manager and the club, you can work in the way you want, to try to improve your team in the best way,” Conte added.
“Manchester City has the possibility to spend a lot of money. When you link this situation, good manager, much money to spend in the transfer market, the same ambition, this is the final result.”
Conte has scarcely tried to hide his disappointment at Chelsea’s transfer activity since the title success last May.
The 48-year-old, whose future remains the subject of speculation, added: “I have great ambition, but I don’t have money to spend for Chelsea.
“The coach has to work every day, work very hard. The club has to show the ambition.
“The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition, what is my will.
“That ambition must always be the same. When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner.
“When you start, you have to continue to build something important with the coach.
“It’s very important to have the coach and the club with the same ambition: to improve your team, to improve your idea of football, to improve the quality of your players.
“If you find this situation, probably the season will finish with success. You can win the league, a cup, the cup and league, the Champions League.”
Asked if Chelsea share his ambition, Conte refused to answer.
He added: “I don’t want to talk about this. Now it’s important to stay focused on the present. These topics are for the future.”
He expects City to get better and better and build on this season – something he evidently feels Chelsea did not do following their title win.
“The situation is going to improve. Not to stop, but to improve for them,” he added.
“Now, it will be very difficult for other teams to fight Manchester City.”
Chelsea are seeking to avoid three successive away Premier League defeats for the first time in five years, but with their title hopes long since over.
Conte, who could have Ross Barkley back following a hamstring problem but remains without David Luiz, Ethan Ampadu and Tiemoue Bakayoko, said: “The league finished this season. Manchester City won it in the first part of the season.
“This must be a great frustration for me, for my players, for my club. If your name is Chelsea, you have to try to fight until the end.”