By 90Min
May 10, 2018

Antonio Conte said he has full respect for Huddersfield Town's defensive tactics after a frustrating 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge which made Chelsea's top four hopes unlikely. 

The Blues will need to win their last game of the season on Sunday at Newcastle and hope that Brighton win at Anfield against Liverpool in order to secure a top four spot. 

The circumstances could've been different had Conte's men picked up all three points against the Terriers, David Wagner's men sat back for most of the game and naturally engaged in a lot of time-wasting - but Conte had no complaints after the match.

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“But we must respect Huddersfield,” the Italian said, via the Independent. “For sure, they started this game with only one targeting their mind: to take one point. For this reason, they wanted to defend very deep. I think we must give a best compliment to Huddersfield for this result. We had the chances to score, but we didn't take them. But congratulations to Huddersfield, the players and the manager and the club, for them.”

“It's very difficult to explain the draw because when you have 82% possession, and create many chances, concede only counter-attack, and draw the's very difficult to explain. But we must accept the result. We must accept staying fifth in the table. But it's a pity because, also today, I saw a fantastic commitment from my players. 

"They tried to get three points. But they weren't able to score one goal more than our opponent. Football is simple. If you want to win, you have to score one goal more than your opponent. We weren't able to do this.

“I’m realistic. I think that, at the end of the season, you finish in the position you deserve. We dropped too many points this season. If we stay fifth in the table, it means we deserve to stay in this position.”


Part of Chelsea's lacklustre performance may have been down to the six changes made by the Italian boss from the fantastic 1-0 win against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, particularly the decision to rest Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud before bringing them on once 1-0 down. However, Conte insisted that rotation was necessary and shouldn't of been an issue. 

“I did the rotation also against Burnley. To make rotation, it means playing with players like [Alvaro] Morata, Willian and [Andreas] Christensen, players who usually are in the line-up from the start. It's stupid if we think rotation was a problem. 

"We are Chelsea. We have a big squad and players who can play the whole game, but they must win. At Burnley we won the rotation was good. We spent a lot of energy against Liverpool. People said that line-up was not good, but we won. This is football.”

The ex-Juventus man refused to be drawn into any conversation regarding his future, but similarly refused to rule out finishing in the top four as he stressed the need for momentum prior to the FA Cup final against Manchester United. 

“The situation wasn't in our hands before this game and, for sure, the possibility is less now after this game. At the same time, we have to try. We have to try to do our best. Like today. We played an intense game, with great desire to get three points. But we weren't able to win the game today. That's football.

“Now [next season] is not important. We have to finish this season and be focused on that. We have another game to play, and the FA Cup final, and then there is the club – for sure – who will do the best to improve the situation.”

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