London, April 2 (IANS) Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned his team that winning the English Premier League (EPL) will be tough following their loss to Crystal Palace.
Chelsea suffered a 1-2 defeat to Crystal Palace in their EPL tie on Saturday evening. It was only their fourth EPL defeat this season which left them on 69 points from 29 matches.
They still have a seven-point lead over second placed Tottenham Hotspur with nine games to go, but Conte feels that Chelsea cannot afford to ease up on the intensity.
“For sure, for people watching this league, it’s a good result. It makes it more interesting. But I always said that the league only finishes when it is mathematically sure you have won. Otherwise you must play every game to try to win because, I repeat, in England easy games do not exist.
“In every game here, anything can happen because the league is so strong,” Conte was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Cesc Fabregas put Chelsea in the lead in the fifth minute at the Stamford Bridge Stadium. But Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke scored within two minutes of each other as Crystal Palace led 2-1 after just 11 minutes.
The visitors held on to the lead to earn probably the most memorable victory of their season and leave the home crowd stunned.
Conte praised Crystal Palace for their performance, but was quick to point out that the Chelsea players must move on and focus on the next game against former EPL champions Manchester City.
“We faced a team with strong players, very good players, and they showed they are a good team,” the former Italy international said.
“But we have to think about the next game. If we had won we would have been happy, but now we must focus on Manchester City. We all know the strength of their team. So we must recover and rest, and remember that in England there are no easy games. You could see that today against Crystal Palace,” he added.
“Every game will be very tough from now until the end. Also, if the team is Manchester City or a side fighting in the relegation zone.”