By 90Min
October 15, 2017

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed why it is harder to be a top player in the modern football climate, and why the Premier League is Europe's toughest division.

The Italian tactician led the Blues to an impressive title victory last season, but has so far this season found things more difficult.

Chelsea sit in fifth, nine points off Manchester City in top, after Saturday's unexpected 2-1 defeat against bottom side Crystal Palace.

And Conte, in a wide-ranging interview with GQ, insisted that the Premier League is the most challenging of the top divisions.

"This is the toughest, the most intense, the most difficult, no doubt," he said. "In Spain, you have two teams who might win, Real Madrid and Barcelona, every now and then Atletico Madrid. 

"In Italy, there is only Juventus. In Germany, there is Bayern Munich. OK, Borussia Dortmund won it with Klopp, but it is [mostly] Bayern. 

"In France, there is Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco for a season. But here, there are at least six clubs who think they can win the title. Manchester City and United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham..."

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The best days of Conte's playing career were with Juventus in the 1990s, and he has admitted that it is considerably more difficult to be a top player now.

"Now to be a top team player, to have a talent, it is not just about skill: you must be fast, strong and have real stamina," he said. "Before, it was not so; the pressures were not the same. 

"You must match the quality with speed and to have velocity and quality together is not easy. In the game today you have no time to control the ball, to look where your opponent is coming from. 


"They are already there, so you must think quickly and know what you are going to do. That is why training sessions are so important and why I keep them so intense."

And on the best player he has played alongside, Conte said: "Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero."

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