It’s a safe to say that the media at large would love nothing more than for Chelsea to let this title
Gerrard slip out of their hands. This probably isn’t personal, it’s just a far more interesting outcome for Anybody But Chelsea. What’s funny for us is the fervor with which they pin their hopes to Spurs just twelve months after gleefully dancing on their graves as Leicester City confirmed their most unlikely triumph. I suppose that’s the nature of the football media beast.
While it’s easy to say that we ignore all that noise, it clearly filters back to the players and the manager, not only through pre- and post-match interviews, but through Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other fake or non-fake channels of media the youth of today uses to stay informed.
But in a way, perhaps that makes Antonio Conte’s job a bit easier. Leading a squad of already proven winners, Conte does not need to create any more pressure to put on the players. That job was already done for him, ensuring a properly motivated starting eleven on Saturday at the Premier League’s tiniest stadium.
“I like the pressure, I live with pressure. If I don’t see pressure, I put pressure on. Pressure brings the best out of you.”
Chelsea certainly started well, and finished well. There was a wobble in the middle of the match, but the test of character that Hazard spoke of after the match was passed with flying colors in the end.
“I’m satisfied because it wasn’t easy to play this game, above all after Tottenham won. Our reaction, our answer was very good.”
“We started the game very well with great concentration and focus with a will and desire to win. It was a pity to concede and then we suffered a bit, but in the second half we managed the game very well, we scored another goal, and we could have scored goals to improve the result against a really good team, with good organisation and a good coach. We must be pleased with the game.”
Conte also praised Costa after the match despite his continuing lack of goals, and preferred to concentrate on the win itself rather than the defence’s continuing habit of giving away goals. Surely, both trends will reverse themselves sooner rather than later.
For now, the most important part is continue taking things game-by-game. That’s one of the oldest cliches in sports, but there’s a good reason for that. It’s how titles are won.
“I don’t smell the victory, because there are seven games to go. We don’t have an easy schedule, we know this. It’s important to go game by game. In this case, after the defeat against Crystal Palace which we didn’t deserve, we played City when we could have dropped points, and today we could have dropped points, but instead we won both games.”
“We have to continue in this way to play game by game and be focused and concentrated, because for sure Tottenham have a great desire to win the title. We must have the same desire.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC