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Lineker interviews Conte: on Chelsea’s title chances, tactics, and Costa’s future

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BBC’s The Premier League show featured the Chelsea boss this week.

Match of the Day host and last Spurs striker to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Gary Lineker sat down with Antonio Conte for a brief interview for the BBC’s The Premier League show recently, and while nothing truly earth-shattering was revealed, it’s still worth a few minutes of your time. Conte’s always such a nice guy in these, and the scene is set nicely with a little tune even. (Sounds like a cover of L’Appuntamento.)

Here are a few of the highlights, not including the tired questions about his celebrations on the touchline and the awkward ending when Lineker asks Conte if any of his players can execute a bicycle kick, just a few minutes after showing Diego Costa scoring like that against Swansea.

"Am I certain we'll win the Premier League? No, we have yet to win the title. Now we're in first place but this league is truly tough. For me now it's important to keep pushing and make the most of this moment. We need to send the right signals to ourselves and not the others which is important."

-Antonio Conte; Source: BBC via Gianluca Di Marzio

Discussion naturally begins with the seismic shift from a back four to a back three, a story that should be familiar by now to everybody.

"I think this league now is the best in the world. I tried to start with four at the back and in my mind, this team could play with 4-2-4. We tried a lot to play with this system, we started very well because we won three games in a row."

"[But] sometimes you can win but you can see that it is not quite right. Because every win we conceded many chances. I tried to change the system to give the side a good balance, don't lose offensively, but to have a defensive situation more covered."

-Antonio Conte; Source: BBC via Daily Mirror

Perhaps the most interesting part is Lineker directly asking Conte about the Diego Costa situation, though just as he’s learned to deflect expertly in his press conference, Conte doesn’t exactly open up here either. But he does reassure, which is perhaps the most clarity we’ll get in this situation for now.

"He's truly an important player for us and the situation is very clear. He's happy to battle for the title with us. I see him every day, I see how he behaves and his effort, he's very involved and loves this club"

-Antonio Conte; Source: BBC via Gianluca Di Marzio