Antonio Conte says that he would not fall to the mind games of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. The former Chelsea boss recently had a dig at Chelsea by branding the blues as a defensive team which wins on the counter-attack. Chelsea have been by far the best team in the division, and they are 12 points ahead of United even after dropping points against Burnley during the weekend.
The 1-1 draw with Burnley on Sunday does give a sigh of relief to many of the teams in the Premier league, who were staring at the prospect of giving up on the title already.
Mourinho did not have a chance to comment after watching Chelsea play against Burnley, but the blues were quite spectacular over the course of the 90 minutes. Conte’s team will certainly feel unlucky not to have won the game after conceding through a freekick. Online gambling sites still place Chelsea as the overwhelming favourites to win the title, but the draw has certainly provided hope for the chasing pack.
Conte has been in the game long enough to understand that the Mourinho is no stranger to playing mind games. The Portuguese has known for this tactic, and it has been known to upset the opposition in the past. Even the great Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have suffered when it comes to mind games against Mourinho. Rather than replying to the comments made by Mourinho, Conte chose to remain silent. He said:
“He’s playing. I have the experience to understand this.
“I don’t like to reply about the other coaches.”
The game at Turf Moor was always going to be difficult for Chelsea. Burnley have an excellent record at this ground, and it is a major factor behind their relative safety in the Premier league. Despite having taken only one point on the road, Burnley are closer to the top of the table largely as a result of collecting 29 points at home. Chelsea were restricted to only two shots on target. Lack of penetration in the final third was seen as a problem. At times, Burnley defended with six defenders at the back, while Chelsea did not make attempts to stretch the defence in order to create openings.
Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois came up with some crucial saves to keep Burnley out. The saves from Andy Gray and Matt Lawton probably helped avoid a defeat.
Still, a point at this ground – where the likes of Liverpool have lost – is certainly not a bad thing. Conte will be looking forward to the game against Swansea City towards the end of February. This is the next league match for the club, as they are involved in the FA Cup against Wolverhampton next week. After struggling to have any sort of positivity for much of the season, Swansea City are on a good run of form since the arrival of Paul Clement. The Welsh outfit have managed three wins in the last four games. This will once again be a stern test for the blues.