- Title: Conte wary of Liverpool backlash
- Date: 30th January 2017
- Summary: JOURNALIST TYPING END OF PRESS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 13th February 2017 15:06
- Keywords: Soccer England Chelsea Conte
- Location: COBHAM, ENGLAND, UK
- City: COBHAM, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA002619WYM7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte hopes to shatter Liverpool's fragile confidence by inflicting a fourth successive home defeat on the Merseyside club when the Premier League leaders travel to Anfield on Tuesday (January 31).
Liverpool have lost three home matches within a week to exit the two domestic cup competitions and leave them fourth in the league table, 10 points behind Chelsea.
"It's always important to win because when you face teams on your same level it's important to win for the confidence. For sure the difficulty is high when you face this kind of opponent but for sure it's important, it's important to beat, to win, this type of game because it increases your confidence, takes three points from your rival, and it's very important this," Conte told reporters on Monday.
Conte also stressed the importance of the next two games against Liverpool and second-placed Arsenal but urged his side not to let the results define their season.
"This week we face two great opponents. Tomorrow against Liverpool it will be a very tough game, we know this, because it came after three defeats and we must pay great attention, because Liverpool is a really, really good team and is in the six teams that can fight until the end to win the title, or to find a place in the Champions League.
"It's a week very important but also I know that after two of these games we have to play 14 games to finish the championship. For this reason it's an important result but it doesn't finish the league after these two games."
Chelsea, who have an eight-point cushion at the top of the table, went on a 13 game winning run in the league after losing to both Liverpool and Arsenal in September and Conte believes that his side have improved greatly in that time.
"I think that we grow a lot, if you think the first game against Liverpool and after the game I told that today we faced a great team, a really great team Liverpool, but today we are not a team. Only through the work we can improve to become a team and I think it happened because after the game against Liverpool and then Arsenal we improved a lot our performance, our identity, our confidence, we grew a lot and for this reason now we are top of the table," he said.
Conte wants Branislav Ivanovic to stay but admitted the experienced defender had been talking with other clubs while reserve goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is pushing for an exit but will not be allowed to leave until Chelsea find a replacement.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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