Antonio Conte: Rivals Will Struggle to Match Chelsea's Winning Run

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at Selhurst Park, London, December 17. Conte's Chelsea took a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Reuters / Peter Nicholls

Antonio Conte doesn't expect to see any of Chelsea's Premier League rivals emulating the Blues' 11-match winning streak secured at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Diego Costa's 43rd minute goal was all that was needed for Conte's team to beat Crystal Palace and extend its lead at the top of the Premier League to nine points.

Arsenal and Liverpool are capable of reducing that gap in the coming days, with Arsene Wenger's side traveling to Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's facing Everton.

"If I don't say I am pleased for this record I am dishonest," Conte said. "I am not a person who loves stats, but it's my first season in England and to win 14 games out of 17 is fantastic.

Newsweek subscription offers >

"I like to see the present but I look more to see the future, and I want the future to be special for us. The only way for this is to work."

The Italian, filled with Christmas cheer, referred back to comments he had made earlier in his reign when he described the change of formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-3 as like a tailor finding a perfect fit.

"Before the season I said one thing: the manager must be a tailor," he said. "They must try to find the right fit for your team. It wasn't easy to arrive and understand the characteristics of my players very soon. I needed a bit of time.

'The most important thing is the mentality, a strong mentality. At work during the week—tactical work, physical work, technical work, analysis work—we touched different aspects to try to improve."

Newsweek subscription offers >

The only mark on Chelsea's afternoon in south London was Diego Costa picking up a fifth yellow card of the season to see him banned for the visit of Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

"I hoped Diego would arrive after the game against Stoke without a yellow card, but it didn't happen. It's a pity because he's in a good moment of form. I think he didn't deserve the yellow card, I must be honest."

Antonio Conte: Rivals Will Struggle to Match Chelsea's Winning Run | Sports