Antonio Conte: Chelsea boss says Tottenham have ‘advantage’ over Blues

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Antonio Conte: Chelsea boss says Tottenham have ‘advantage’ over Blues

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says second-placed Tottenham “have an advantage” over the Premier League leaders because Mauricio Pochettino has been in charge at White Hart Lane since 2014.

Conte is close to winning the title in his first season in English football.

His side can move seven points clear with three games left if they beat Middlesbrough on Monday (20:00 BST).

“I think Tottenham have an advantage, if you compare Tottenham to Chelsea,” said the Italian.

“This is my first season and I found a lot of situations, a lot of players. Mauricio Pochettino has been working there for three years and has changed a lot of players and is working very well.

“For me, Tottenham are a really strong team and it’s normal to see them fighting for the title.”

Conte believes Spurs, who were Leicester City’s main challengers in 2015-16 before fading to finish third, would have easily won the Premier League this season if it were not for his side’s impressive season.

“In this season, if Chelsea had not performed in this way, Tottenham would win the title without difficulty,” he said.

“Only this great season from us is pushing them to fight and, maybe, to win or not to win the title.”

The former Juventus and Italy boss could lead his side to a league and FA Cup double, 10 months after Chelsea finished 10th, with an FA Cup final against Arsenal on 27 May.

Unlike some of their rivals, Chelsea have not been involved in Europe and Conte thinks it is difficult for English clubs to succeed in the Champions League because of the strength of the Premier League.

In the past six years, five English clubs have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, compared to 17 from Spain and 10 in Germany.

Conte said: “This league is very difficult. Every single game you must fight a lot and, I think, also for this reason it’s not easy to arrive at the end of a European competition.

“It is so clear here, every season will be tougher and tougher to qualify for the Champions League.”