Conte: Chelsea players must not look for excuse to fight Tottenham

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The Blues boss is keen to make sure that his players keep a level head against Mauricio Pochettino's side, after an explosive tie last season resulted in fines and long suspensions

Chelsea and Tottenham played out the fiercest games in the Premier League calendar last season and, while Conte thought it was a great match, he has urged his players to keep a level head when they meet again on Saturday.

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Last May, the corresponding fixture at Stamford Bridge saw 12 players booked, fighting in the manager's dugout and record fines dished out by the Football Association - with Tottenham's Moussa Dembele getting retrospectively banned for six games for an eye gouge on Diego Costa.

But Conte doesn't want the legacy of the fixture to become a distraction for his side, despite understanding the importance from his days in Italy of bragging rights, as Chelsea look to conitnue their six game winning streak. 

“In Italy, I can speak from experience from this type of game against Torino, and when I played for Lecce against Bari... these games are very tough," he said at a news conference at Chelsea's training ground.

“When you play Torino, that derby is not easy. I remember lots of games when I was a footballer – not just as a manager – and these games are unpredictable, and very tough. It's normal that, in Italy, games against Milan, Inter, against Roma... those games are very tough.

"The supporters feed this. They feel this. There is a fantastic intensity during the game. I like this type of game, for sure, because it's not normal. This game is a special derby. 

"In London, there are a lot of teams, but this game is special for our club. But it's important, I repeat, to be focused on the game, getting three points and playing good football.

"To play and improve. That is the most important thing now. It's not important to look at the past, to see what happened."

Conte is keen to avoid last season's antics with his side in form and favourites to win the fixture with Spurs suffering from a few injuries and having been recently knocked out of the Champions League, despite being undefeated in the Premier League. 

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Chelsea could stretch their unbeaten run at home to Spurs which has stood for over 25 years, when Gary Lineker helped beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a 2-1 win in 1990. Conte doesn't believe that the record is important, regardless of the level of dominance his side have enjoyed. 

“I know this record, but I don't like the stats. The stats are old. You have to live in the moment. Now, if you speak about our unbeaten run, Tottenham are unbeaten in this championship now. For this reason it's important to play with good intensity and try to win in this situation.”

John Terry revelled in his side costing Spurs the title last season after posting a message to Instagram saying, "27 years #notonmyshift," and Conte was keen to play down any topics that could cause animosity between players on Saturday. 

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“I understand that [Instagram post]. For sure, you don't lose a championship in one game. You lose or win a championship over many games. Not with one match. This is my opinion. I always told that to my players. Don't find an excuse to fight. Because you lose and win for 38 league games, not for one game.”

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