By Aramide Oladipo
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes Tottenham Hotspur would have strolled to the Premiership title had it not been for Chelsea’s fantastic league form.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side saw their slim hopes of winning the title diminish on Friday night as they suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of London rivals West Ham at the London Stadium.
The defeat not only ended Tottenham’s streak of nine successive wins in the league, it also means that they are four points behind leaders Chelsea who can be crowned Premier League champions if they win their next two games.
Speaking ahead of their match against Middlesborough on Monday at Stamford Bridge, Conte admitted, as quoted in the Evening Standard, that Tottenham would have been champions had it not been for Chelsea’s incredible displays throughout the season.
“For me, Tottenham are a really strong team and it’s normal to see them fighting for the title,” he said.
Conte added: “In this season, if Chelsea had not performed in this way, Tottenham would win the title without difficulty.”
He also re-iterated a belief that Tottenham have the stronger squad and are more “advanced” with manager Mauricio Pochettino working with his team for the third year.
“Only this great season [from us] is pushing them to fight and, maybe, to win or not to win the title. But, I repeat, Tottenham’s position for me is more advanced if you compare Tottenham’s to Chelsea.”
Conte also believes that he will need to strengthen his squad next year to battle on the added front of Champions League football.
Following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in September, the Italian manager switched his formation to a back three and Chelsea went on to win their next 13 matches in the league.
Tottenham would end this winning streak with a 2-0 victory against Conte’s team at White Hart Lane at the start of January but Chelsea still led the North London side by seven points.
Arsenal’s win against Manchester United on the weekend means that Tottenham are guaranteed Champions League football next season but it’s becoming even more apparent that they’ll have to settle for second place in the league.
In other Tottenham news, Graham Roberts reveals which Tottenham player is likely to leave the club in the summer.