London [UK]: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes that his side’s defeat against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday has made the title race “more interesting”.
Chelsea, who are currently leading the Premier League points table, suffered only their second home defeat of the season as Palace boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 win.
The Blues, who had won their past 10 league games at Stamford Bridge and had not lost there in any competition since 16 September, saw that run ended by a battling Eagles side.
Cesc Fabregas scored the opener for Chelsea in the fifth minute of the game. However, quick-fire goals from Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke ensured Palace won the game 2-1.
“For sure, for people watching this league, it’s a good result,” Guardian quoted the Chelsea manager as saying. “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 maintained that they were beaten by a team with “strong players, very good players”.
“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,” he said.
“You could see that today against Crystal Palace. 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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Palace boss Sam Allardyce, who has never been relegated from the Premier League as a manager, said, “It’s an absolutely outstanding victory for us, particularly in the position we’re in.”
“Nobody expected it,” he insisted.
Tottenham have closed the gap to seven points with Chelsea after a 2-0 win at Burnley, while Manchester City will also be able to haul themselves back into contention, if they win at Arsenal on Sunday. (ANI)