Conte warns Chelsea they face a hard fight for the Premier League title

Conte warns Chelsea they face a hard fight for the Premier League title

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte warned his players they face a real fight for the Premier League title after they fell to a shock 2-1 defeat against relegation-threatened Crystal Palace.

Chelsea’s lead over Spurs at the top of the table was cut to seven points with nine games remaining after they were beaten by goals from Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke in front of their stunned supporters in west London. 

They are still clear favourites to win the league but their match against Manchester City on Wednesday night has now attained much greater significance. Win and the title is surely theirs. Lose and all bets are off. 

‘For you, it’s a good result,’ Conte said with a smile in his post-match press conference. ‘It makes it more interesting, the championship. But I always said that the league 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. Every game will be very tough from now until the end whether the team is Manchester City or a side fighting in the relegation zone. 

‘I think, today, we deserved at least to draw. I don’t want to say win, but at least a draw. We created many chances. We dominated the game against a team, very strong with really good players. Yes, it’s a pity but today wasn’t our day. 

‘Yes, we have to play on Wednesday against Manchester City and we all know the strength of this team. But, now, the most important thing is to recover very well and rest.’ 

Chelsea took an early lead with a superb goal from Cesc Fabregas but Palace hit back to maintain a four-point gap between them and the bottom three.

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