Antonio Conte wary of challenges with securing Champions League football despite Chelsea's return to top four

The Italian guided Chelsea to a Premier League title last season but the Blues have struggled for form this term

Monday, February 12, 2018

Antonio Conte says it will be very difficult for Chelsea to qualify for next season’s Champions League even though his side moved back into the top four with a comfortable win over West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues, who went into the game in poor form having lost their last two games by three-goal margins against Bournemouth and Watford respectively, started nervously and were fortunate not to go behind after Jay Rodriguez failed to take advantage of Victor Moses’ wayward header. 

However, Eden Hazard’s accomplished finish following a good lay-off from Olivier Giroud gave Chelsea a nerve-settling lead on 25 minutes. 

The hosts dominated from that point and their lead was doubled in the second-half when Moses dispatched Cesc Fabregas’ clever flick. 

Hazard scored his second and Chelsea’s third to give his side a commanding lead as the west London club ran out easy winners in the end. 

The win sees Chelsea climb back into the Premier League’s top four and the recent pressure on the Italian lifted momentarily. 

Speaking to talkSPORT’s Ian Abrahams, Conte was still wary of how close things were in the race for Champions League football

Conte said: “I’ve been saying it for a long time that it will be very difficult to find a place in the Champions League. At the moment there are five teams fighting for three places and that means someone has to stay out.

“I think it was very important to get three points because after two defeats our confidence was a bit down.

“We started the game with some problems but then after we scored I felt we controlled the game, we created the chances to improve the result. To keep a clean sheet and get a good result was very important for our confidence. 

“The pressure on me is normal. It’s been there since the start of the season. For me it’s not important but I understand that the pressure can be a weight on the shoulder of my players and I don’t want this.”

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