Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed he didn’t expect his squad to perform so well this season.
The Blues performed woefully last season, mounting a poor defence of their Premier League title before finishing 10th. This season Conte has revived their fortunes, however, with Chelsea currently top of the league with 15 games played.
When asked whether he expected his players to perform so well, Conte told FourFourTwo: “If I must be honest, no. Not because I don’t trust in my team, but because I know this league, it’s very tough.
“To have nine wins in a row is fantastic, I hope to continue this, but if you ask me if I hoped for this, then yes. But I didn’t expect it.
“The opinion changes very quickly and I don’t like this. You must have balance when you judge the situation. Four, five months ago, not one person made Chelsea favourites to fight for the title or a place in the Champions League.
“We are working to change the situation, but we’re the same as we were at the start of the season, the same players, the same manager. But I’m pleased our work is starting to pay off.”
Chelsea’s recent wins against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have established the Stamford Bridge club as firm title favourites, but Conte has warned against of complacency ahead of his side’s encounter with Sunderland.
“We all know that Sunderland are at the bottom of the table, but if you look at the last five games they are fifth in the table,” Conte said, referencing Sunderland’s fine recent form.
“It’s important to pay attention, to be focused, concentrated from the start of the game until the end.”