Antonio Conte has insisted his Chelsea side can not be measured as genuine Premier League title contenders until at least January after watching his side move to fourth following a 2-0 win over Southampton.
The Blues sit just one point behind the three teams tied at the top – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool – thanks to a fourth successive victory that arrived courtesy of goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.
Chelsea were clinical and well-organised once again as they eased past Claude Puel’s Saints at St Mary’s, but Conte was quick to keep his – and his players’ – feet on the ground regarding his side’s ability to go toe-to-toe with the rest at the league’s summit.
“It’s early for us to speak about title contenders,” he said. “We can improve a lot. We must improve. After the first part of the season – during January – I can tell more about this run.”
“I’m pleased to see my players working very hard during the game with and without the ball,” he said.
“We know that the road is long but the confidence is increasing. It’s important to get this type of result and performance because, in this way, they can trust more in the work. It’s not important for us to look at the table now.
“If you ask me a prediction or an expectation of our championship, it’s very difficult to talk about this. It’s important to pass the first part of the season. Then, when you start the second part, our ideas will be more clear.”