Chelsea are the Premier League's underdogs NOT Tottenham, insists Conte

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The Blues boss thinks that more is expected of his side going into what increasingly looks like a two-horse title race with Spurs

Antonio Conte believes Tottenham were the more likely title contenders than Chelsea ahead of the season, as he tries to ease the pressure and celebrate the achievements of his players. 

Chelsea are preparing for a crucial match against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday but go into the game having lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

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Meanwhile, Spurs won 2-0 at Burnley to close the gap at the top of the Premier League table to seven points.

Conte believes that there is more expectation on his Chelsea players than those at Tottenham, even though the Italian feels his team were not given much chance in the title race before the start of the campaign. 

“It's important to see the result tomorrow," Conte said at Cobham Training Centre. "This run must give you enjoyment. It must make you proud to be in this run. Also because, I repeat, don't forget nobody thought Chelsea, in this season, would fight for the title. Don't forget this.

"I think the difference between Chelsea and Tottenham is this: if you stay in Chelsea and win it's normal. If you stay in Tottenham, if you win it's great, great, but if you lose... it's not a disaster, no? Not a disaster.

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"Because you find a lot of situations to explain a good season. But, I repeat, in this season, us and Tottenham stay in the same level. Chelsea were underdogs at the start of the season, but now we are top and we want to keep this position.”

It has been exactly a year since Conte was announced as the new Chelsea boss, ahead of him taking over the club after he completed Italy's Euro 2016 campaign. 

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Before his two-year spell with Italy, Conte was the manager of Juventus, who he took over in similar circumstances to Chelsea.

Juventus finished a disappointing seventh when Conte came in and he led them to the title in his first season, while Chelsea finished 10th last term.

Conte admits there are similarities between his situations at Juventus and his current club but he adds that it is harder to win a title so early in the Premier League. 

“In my first season at Juventus, even, we stayed behind and then we overcame Milan and won the title (late on)," he added. "I repeat, it was a great season because we started as underdogs.

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"The second season and third season, I think Juventus showed themselves to be really, really strong. Stronger than the others. The competition wasn't so tough like in England.

"Here, in every game, you must think that anything can happen if you don't face the game in the right way. But not only this: against Crystal Palace we played a good game with great commitment and great concentration, but we still lost.

"This is the great difference between England and Italy. In Italy, it's easier to manage this situation.”