Keep winning and hope top-4 rivals slip up: Conte

LONDON • Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has not given up on his side finishing in the top four of the Premier League, even though he admitted they are struggling for goals.

The Blues moved within two points of the Champions League qualification places with a 1-0 win at Swansea City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Cesc Fabregas scored after four minutes at the Liberty Stadium against a Swansea team who are fighting to retain their top-flight status.

Chelsea have won their last three league matches and are just two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who play Watford today. With a huge game against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Conte says his team are ready to put even more pressure on the teams above them.

"The only way that we have to put a bit of pressure on the top four is to win." he said. "Today has been very positive to put that pressure on Tottenham.

"It is not simple to win a game in this league, but for sure our situation is not in our hands."

Eden Hazard, who set up Fabregas for his winner, is Chelsea's leading scorer in the league this season with a modest 12 goals.

Striker Alvaro Morata is next with 11 while Marcos Alonso and Willian both have six. And Conte rued his side's wastefulness in front of goal on Saturday.

"Our top scorer has scored only 12 goals and, if your best scorer has scored only 12 goals, it means it is very difficult to fight for something this season," said the Italian. "I think even today we could be more clinical to kill the game, but instead we kept the game in balance.

"Against West Ham (in a 1-1 draw earlier this month), it happened the same. We dominated and created many chances, but we scored only one goal."

While Chelsea look upward for others to stumble, Swansea are looking downward with increasing nervousness. This was their sixth game without a win and they are now just a point above the bottom three.

But Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal believes his team can avoid relegation. He said: "If we play with this heart and commitment, we will get the points to stay in the Premier League."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2018, with the headline 'Keep winning and hope top-4 rivals slip up: Conte'. Print Edition | Subscribe