Antonio Conte’s favorite words, in case you need a refresher, include such unquantifiable qualities as will, commitment, intensity, determination, and of course, hard work. Beyond the tactical work and strenuous planning, it’s these mental capabilities that separate winners from losers, especially during less than ideal conditions, such as having to play 72 hours after a game in Baku, Azerbaijan, 3000 miles away.
“We must be pleased with the game, I think both teams played with great intensity from the start until the end. For us it was very difficult to play this game after long travelling and no rest for my players.”
And it wasn’t just a credible performance; at times, Chelsea outplayed Liverpool despite a pervasive sloppiness that was perhaps the most telling sign of the general fatigue the week had brought on the team.
“When you play a strong team it’s not simple, so we must be pleased because in the first half we were very solid and always dangerous in possession.”
“In the second half we created many chances to score and in our best moment we conceded the goal. We were unlucky when you see the dynamic of the goal but at the same time I was very happy to see a great reaction, great desire and a great will to not accept a bad result. We drew but we tried to win the game, so we must be pleased with the draw.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
We could look at it as a missed opportunity of course, to notch a win at Anfield, but a 1-1 draw, especially on a weekend that Spurs laughably dropped two points at home to West Brom, is not the worst outcome. It keeps Chelsea firmly in the top four race, and in a good position as we tackle a series of eminently winnable games coming up over the next month and through the holiday period.