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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte recalls sleepless nights after losing title

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is taking nothing for granted in the Premier League title race
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is taking nothing for granted in the Premier League title race

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has recalled the agony of relinquishing a commanding lead in a title race which left him unable to sleep for almost a week.

Chelsea have an eight-point lead at the Premier League summit ahead of Saturday's clash with Swansea.

But Conte refuses to agree with those who have already anointed the Blues champions, reflecting on his own experience as a Juventus player in 1999-2000.

Juve had a seven-point lead with six games remaining but were overtaken by Lazio. Conte will not be happy until the title is mathematically certain.

"I have had two experiences," Conte said.

"One good experience, another bad experience, against Lazio.

"Lazio in the last six games recovered seven points and we lost the title in the last game against Perugia.

"I was captain of the team. I remember after this game I must go to the European Championships with the national team.

"I didn't sleep for six days because it was a shock for me to lose the title."

Conte's Juve two seasons later were the chasers. They were six points behind Inter with five games to play and four adrift of Roma.

"We won the last game against Udinese and Inter lost the game against Lazio," he added.

"I have experienced this. When I continue to repeat that there are 13 games, there are 39 points... there is a long time before we can say we won the title.

"We must be focused, we must go step by step."

Conte has not related his own experience to his Chelsea players.

He added: "No. It's not important now. Now is not the right moment.

"There is a long time (to go). Thirteen games is an enormous space of time. You can take 39 points.

"I'm sure if we take 32 points we will win the title. Otherwise anything can happen."

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