It’s probably the biggest challenge we’ve had
Chelsea are at Turf Moor tomorrow and that means a first Turf Moor appearance for their excitable Italian manager Antonio Conte who is currently enjoying his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
He’s taken his team to the top of the league and they’ve just come through two big games prior to their visit to the Turf, drawing 1-1 at Liverpool a week last Tuesday and following that up with a 3-1 home win against Arsenal last Saturday.
But Conte expects another big game at Burnley and said: “It will be a really tough game because I read with great attention the stats and Burnley have taken 28 points at home and one away, which means they have 29 points and 28 of them have been won at home.
“They won their last five home matches and scored a lot at the end of games. The stats show Burnley are really strong at home. They’re third in the table for home matches, we are first with 33 points, Tottenham are second with 32 and Burnley are third.
“We have prepared very well for the game and my players know what we will face. This is the second time that we play them. I think Andre Gray is a really good player, he’s very clever and stays in the right position when they win second balls to attack the space in the defensive line. They are a really good team, they play a lot of long balls and put pressure on you when you have the ball.
“It’s important to know the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and we have studied them well. When you arrive after games against Liverpool and Arsenal it’s important to give continuity and try tin win, but I know it won’t be easy.”
Chelsea have done really well this season against the sides who are not considered challengers for the Premier League title, and Conte said of that: “Honestly, in England, if you ask me before a match if it will be an easy game my reply is always the same, there are no easy games and we have lots of examples.
“There are teams at the bottom who win and draw so you must have the right concentration. If your ambition is to stay in the top four or top six, you can have highs and lows. If you want to win you must have concentration and focus and know that in every game you can lose points.”
Burnley fell to a 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge back in August in the first away game of the season. “They played miles better than us on the day and fully deserved the victory,” Sean Dyche said when recalling the game.
“I think we have morphed into a stronger unit now,” he added. “There are no guarantees about playing teams like this but, beyond this result, I think we’re a stronger unit and I think we’ve got a bit more experience and a bit more knowledge about what the league’s about.
“That doesn’t guarantee you a result against, yet again, one of the super powers of the division, but I think it gives you a better chance.
“I think every game in the Premier League is a test. It’s fair to say these are so strong at the moment, it’s probably the biggest challenge we’ve had in that sense. They are top of the league for a reason, and that many points clear, but every game is a challenge. We can’t under estimate anyone and we don’t.”
He added: “They are having a fine season. A change in system seems to have been the catalyst for them to deliver some very strong performances and results. We are under no illusion about what a good side they are, but we have played good sides here before and been away and played good sides, and we’ve been in more or less every game.
“There have been a couple of blips along our season so far, but more or less every game, particularly at home, of course, so we look forward to taking on the challenge, a big one as it may be.
“I, and my staff, do make the players aware of some of the detail within the opposition but equally respect is before and after the game. When the whistle blows there is no respecting the opposition. It’s about us delivering a performance and us gripping the game and going to win. That’s what we attempt to do, it’s not always easy as we’ve seen away from home this year, but that’s our approach to games.
“I don’t think that’s changed for any given team or any given moment. We have had that format and that mentality towards games for a long time now. I think it’s looked after us. We have to nurture it, believe in it and deliver it, but it’s gone well so far.”Share this page :