Manchester United and City are superior to Chelsea - Conte

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The Italian's side may be cruising towards the Premier League title, but he is insistent that there are stronger units in England

Antonio Conte believes Manchester United and Manchester City have the strongest squads in the Premier League, despite his Chelsea side establishing a dominant 10-point cushion at the top of the table.

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Chelsea host United in a blockbuster FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Monday, and Conte is expecting a tough game, although his team, widely dubbed the champions-elect, are sitting 17 points clear of Jose Mourinho's Red Devils in the league.

The Old Trafford men are unbeaten in the league since they were beaten 4-0 at Chelsea in the Premier League on October 23, but they have been unable to climb higher than sixth.

Despite their inability to break into the top four, Conte was full of praise for the quality available to managerial rivals Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.

"I think Manchester United, with City, have the best squad in the league," Conte told reporters on Friday. "They have a lot, a number of great players with great talent and great experience to win.

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"For sure, it can be a really tough game, for us and for them. I think that now, for us, it is better. We have a good identity, a good team. So we are showing good football. But, for sure, it will be a really tough game against United. We are facing a good team, very strong."

 

Chelsea have the chance to win the league and cup double in Conte's first season in English football, matching compatriot Carlo Ancelotti's achievement in the 2009-10 campaign, but the Italian played down the club's chances of collecting multiple trophies.

"First of all, we have to win. We have to win," Conte stressed. "Now it's very difficult to say this because I think we need 24 points to be sure to win the title. There are 11 games to go. For us, it's important to go game by game in the league, in the championship, but also in the FA Cup.

"Now we have the FA Cup on Monday, a really tough game. We want to get into the next round, but we all know this game will be very difficult. But we want to try and go into the next round. Then we'll see. Until now, we didn't win anything. Nothing."

Conte also offered support to under-fire Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has been heavily criticised after his side's 10-2 aggregate humiliation against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

He added: "It's not an easy moment for Wenger, but we are talking about a great manager.

"I think that, in 20 years at Arsenal, he did very well. He worked a lot. Every year Arsenal stay in the Champions League. Now, I think, this could also be a good target because, in England, it's not easy.

"You have to fight, this season, with six teams. Next season, seven or eight teams to find the right place. He won in the past with Arsenal. I don't know if it's too much or not, to win, but I think he deserves respect for his past, for his work."

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