Antonio Conte: Why This Premier League Season is Different to Any Other

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at Chelsea Training Ground, Cobham, England, November 21. Conte has led Chelsea to the top of the Premier League. Alex Pantling/Getty

Antonio Conte believes this Premier League season is set to be "the most difficult one ever" despite seeing his Chelsea side climb to the top on Sunday.

Diego Costa's first-half strike against Middlesbrough at the Riverside saw Chelsea take over from Liverpool to become league leaders after 12 games in the season.

With just four points separating the top five teams in the Premier League, Conte believes this is going to be the most competitive championship since the league was formed in 1992.

"I am particularly happy for the players that we sit atop of the table at the moment. It is not only a reward for our hard work, but also shows that we are on the right path," he told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We should not forget that we were in a bad situation after we lost to Liverpool and Arsenal six weeks ago. It will not be easy to remain top of the table until the end of the season.

"This Premier League season is perhaps the most difficult one ever. We have to battle it out with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United. You do not have such excellence in any other league in the world.

"I want to show Chelsea that they made the right choice to appoint me for the next three years. That counts even more than winning titles."

Former Juventus manager Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer after guiding Italy to the quarter-final of Euro 2016 in France.

His change of formation to 3-4-3 at the end of September has seen Chelsea go on a six-match winning run in the Premier League, including 17 goals without reply.

Chelsea face Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.