News Live Scores

'I didn't sleep for six days' - Conte warns Chelsea players the title is not yet won

22:30 GMT 24/02/2017
Antonio Conte Chelsea
The Blues boss relived his most painful moment as a player, warning his players that the title is not yet secured

Despite Chelsea holding an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, Antonio Conte is well aware the title is not yet won having previously missed out on a trophy on the final day as a player.

Rumours: Mancini to Leicester?

Sven-Göran Eriksson's Lazio side won the Serie A title in 1999-00, despite Conte's Juventus enjoying a nine-point cushion with just eight games to play, snatching the crown on the final day as Perugia beat the Turin side on a heavily waterlogged pitch. 

Chelsea are strong favourites to win the Premier League this season having won 19 of their 25 league games under Conte, though he relived the painful memories from his playing days in Friday's press conference - something which haunted him into Italy's Euro 2000 campaign that was immediately after the aforementioned season. 

"In my experience as a footballer I have had two experiences [of a major title collapse]," he said at Cobham Training Centre. "One good experience, another bad experience against Lazio.

"Lazio in the last six or seven games they recovered seven points, eight 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 in the Europe with the national team.

"I didn't sleep for six days because it was a shock for me to lose the title. In another situation I won the title to recover against Inter eight points. We won the last game against Udinese and Inter lost the game against Lazio.

"The day after [everyone thought] we lost the title. I'm not surprised. I have experienced this. When I continue to repeat 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. Now I'm sure to win the title we must get 32 points [to be mathematically safe]."

Jose Mourinho has been one of many top-flight managers to note Chelsea's advantage in regards to their lack of European football this season - with the now-Manchester United manager wary of his side's upcoming FA Cup game at Stamford Bridge being so close to his side's Europa League trip away to Russian side FC Rostov. 

And Conte admits that he has had to change his management style as a result of his increased time on the training pitch, without the worry of midweek games that European competition brings. 

Chelsea plot bid for Atletico's Oblak

"I had both experiences, because in the first season with Juventus we didn't play Europa League or Champions League," he added. "In the two years later we played. For sure you have to change something in the work, for sure."

"But it's important always to find the right balance and to understand when it's the right time to push, to work very hard, the time to rest. For sure you have to face these two situations in different ways."