Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has tasked his side to avoid losing concentration when they face a ‘confident’ Burnley at Turf Moor on Thursday.
Conte whose side are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a top four finish, admits it will not be easy for his side to beat Spurs to the last Champions League spot place with five games left to play.
Chelsea will face Burnley, Swansea, Liverpool, Hudderfield Town and Newcastle United in their remaining league fixtures.
“I think we have to try until the end to reach this target. If you want to be realistic, with five games to go it is not simple to reduce the gap,” Conte said during his pre-match conference on Wednesday ahead of the clash with Burnley.
“We must have the will to fight, we must have the desire to try to take this target. Why not? Tomorrow we have an important against a strong team. They are having a fantastic season and it will be tough to get three points. We have to try our best and avoid what happened against Southampton in the first 60 minutes. We have to avoid this if we want to keep the hope of finishing in the top four.
“It ( Europa League qualification) can be a great achievement for Burnley.
“To finish in the right position to play in the Europa League next season could be a great achievement for him [Dyche]. They have a lot of confidence and are in a great moment of form. We have to pay great attention tomorrow and avoid like the Southampton game.”
Conte also refused to comment on Marcos Alonso’s charge by the English FA for violent conduct. The Chelsea wing-back stamped on Shane Long’s calf in the Blues’ 3-2 comeback win over Southampton last Saturday at the Saint Mary’s stadium.
Alonso faces a two-match ban as retrospective punishment for his action.
“The situation is very clear, the FA charged him. Until tonight (Wednesday) we have the possibility to respond. I don’t want to comment now on this topic. I want to wait and see what happens,” Conte said.
“We have to wait, I repeat that tonight we have the possibility to respond.”
Conte is pleased the Spaniard was named in the Professional Footballers’ Association Premier League Team of the Year.
“I am very happy for him. For sure in the last game he played badly, but for this consideration it was the whole team.”
Emerson Palmeri is expected to feature in Alonso’s absence.
Conte also praised new EPL champions Manchester City for their remarkable feat in winning the title.
Manchester City emerged champions on Sunday with five games remaining after Manchester United lost 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion.
“For sure they have dominated this season,” the former Juventus manager admitted. “It is right to give them compliments to win the league. This league is not simple, it is very tough to win but the way they did this was incredible. For this reason it is right to give the best compliment. They did a good job on and off the pitch, they improved the team and the squad and continue to improve the idea of football of this squad.
“I think Manchester City is the one club that continue to dominate, to win, not only in England but to fight for the Champions League. I think Manchester City have the possibility to do this. They are a squad very strong with great quality and great players and they have a club that want to invest and improve the situation. There is a lot of things right in the right place.”
City will be presented the trophy on Sunday, May 6 against Huddersfield.
He also dispelled talks that Antonio Rudiger was left out of his squad for his comments after the 1-1 draw with West Ham.
Rudiger was quoted in the British media saying he was shocked Chelsea were struggling to see off games after going ahead.
“I don’t think he said anything wrong. It was a tactical decision. Maybe tomorrow another player starts on the bench and I have the opportunity to makes changes. If I see a change I will.”