April 4, 2017 / 2:17 PM / 5 months ago

Confident Conte says Chelsea still on track for title

(Reuters) - Chelsea are still in a "really good position" to win the Premier League title despite Saturday's shock 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace, manager Antonio Conte said on Tuesday.

Chelsea saw their lead over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur cut to seven points after the loss, and Conte warned his players that they faced another tough test against fourth-placed Manchester City on Wednesday.

"I think we didn't deserve to lose the game against Crystal Palace but football is wonderful also for this type of result," the Italian told a news conference.

"It's normal that with 27 points available anything can happen in the league, but we are in a really good position.

"We must play with great attention when we go forward because of Manchester City's counter-attacking threat. We haven't had many days to prepare for this game but it's the same for Manchester City," he said.

Britain Football Soccer - Chelsea - Antonio Conte Press Conference - Chelsea Training Ground - 4/4/17 Chelsea manager Antonio Conte during the press conference Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

"Both teams will be trying to win the game tomorrow. It won't be easy because they are a very good team."

Chelsea beat City 3-1 in the reverse fixture in December - an ill-tempered contest in which Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho were sent off and players and coaching staff from both teams were involved in a melee on the touchline.

"I have great respect for Sergio Aguero and what has happened in the past is not important," Conte said, while revealing he had not changed his approach in training in the wake of the defeat by Palace.

"The training sessions are always the same, if you win or lose or draw. It doesn't change our ideas, our philosophy, our methods," Conte said.

"We have to continue in the same way to work, to prepare every game in the right way, and to keep concentration. At this moment, I'm pleased with my players. I'm seeing, always, great commitment from my players," he added.

"Nobody thought that Chelsea could fight this season for the title ... We want to keep this position."

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich

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