Manchester City‘s mind-boggling Premier League form is proving to be a “Big Problem” for EPL rivals, says Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Last season, Chelsea cleared aside all comers on the way to their second title in three seasons, but get themselves nine points behind Pep Guardiola‘s swashbuckling side.
The Etihad outfit has dropped only two points from their opening 10 matches and closest rivals Manchester United are five off the pace.
Sunday crucial tie against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, and inquired as to whether it was a game his side can’t lose, Conte believes there is a bigger problem influencing everything.
“But I think that, now, there is a big problem for all the teams that want to fight for the title, and this big problem is Manchester City,” he told a media conference.
“Because, if Manchester City continues in this way, I think this is the big problem for all the teams who are thinking about fighting for the title.
Asked if City can maintain their level over a full season, Conte added: “I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know.
“Until now, though, they are having a fantastic path. A fantastic path. If they continue in this way, it will be very difficult for all the teams to try and fight for the title until the end.”
Chelsea was beaten 1-0 by City at Stamford Bridge in September to crank up the pressure on United, but Conte says his players must embrace the challenge of facing the league’s elite.
“I think when you play against Manchester United, City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham… I think it’s always a big game,” he said.
“I think this type of game must excite the players, to play in a fantastic atmosphere, to play and to know that a lot of people will watch the game in the whole world. Yes. I think it’s a really big game.”
With Chelsea off the pace in the title race and having been humbled 3-0 by Roma in the Champions League midweek, Conte has had to fend off questions over his long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
He added: “Honestly, I feel always the same pressure. The same pressure. Because, before the game, I feel the pressure to win. In every game. Last season it was the same.
“When you stay on top of the table you feel the pressure to win because you want to stay on top of the table.
“I feel always the same pressure. This is very important. Above all, for me, because I’m a passionate man with a great enthusiasm. I need to feel this type of pressure.
“I like the pressure. I was born with the pressure.”