Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, has claimed that his Manchester City counterpart, Pep Guardiola, is playing mind games with him after the Spaniard said the title is the Blues’ to lose.
Conte’s men welcome rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge this Saturday, nine points clear at the top and will be hoping to extend their advantage.
Speaking after City’s 4-0 win over West Ham, Guardiola said there is no point in his team trying to close the gap on Chelsea.
“It’s normal, a mental strategy that every single coach tries to use for his players, and also to try and put a bit of pressure on the others,” Conte said of Guardiola’s comments.
“But normal, a normal strategy. I like to respect every decision [taken by] the other coaches.”
Conte admits he is happy to have switched to a 3-4-3 formation after the thrashing at Arsenal last September, but warned that things could still change quickly.
“I’m very happy to have changed the system [to 3-4-3 after the Arsenal game] because now we are top of the league and, in that moment, I remember that we were eight points from City [at the top],” he added.
“To answer Pep, the situation can change very quickly, also if you have 10 points more than another opponent. In that moment, City had eight points more than Chelsea. After 18 games, the situation has changed. There are 15 games left and we must pay great attention.
“I saw a really good team [at the London Stadium], but we all know the potential of Manchester City. We all know it. I think the strange thing is the current situation, but we all know their potential.
“They have a great squad, a lot of fantastic players in the team, and they played a really good game against West Ham. They played very well. Gabriel Jesus played very well, and [Raheem] Sterling and [Leroy] Sane. But the whole team, the performance was very good.
“I repeat: if someone thinks the league is finished, I’m not so sure. I want to have this tension, this right tension. In the past I’ve fought to win the title as a player and a manager and I know we must pay great attention. There are 15 games to play and a lot of great teams behind us.”