Chelsea is on the verge of making history.
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Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea won for the 13th-straight Premier League game on Saturday, equaling Arsenal’s 2002 record for the most consecutive wins in a single Premier League season.
When they face Tottenham on Jan. 4 at White Hart Lane (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) they can set a new PL record as their juggernaut continues to catch team on the counter with their devastating pace.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Conte hailed his players.
“Congratulations go to my players. This is a great achievement for my players, for the club, for the fans. After a bad season like last season I am pleased for them. Every day during the training sessions and the games I see great attitude, great work rate and great fight to try to win. I am pleased for them and the deserve this.”
Conte also added that it was “great achievement” to win 16 of his first 19 games in charge in the Premier League but that it “won’t be easy to repeat this run” in the second half of the season.
“To win 13 games in a row in this league is very difficult. Stoke played very well. They hit long balls to Crouch and fought for the second ball. My players showed they can adapt to the different kinds of game we face,” Conte told the BBC. “They showed great commitment, work-rate and will to win. I’m delighted for them. Now, it’s important to celebrate the arrival of the new year, then to think of the next game against Tottenham. Numbers are not important if you do not win the title. Now, they are fantastic and we are proud, but we must concentrate on the second part of the season.”
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All the way through his opening season in the PL, Conte has failed to get ahead of himself and has asked the media to judge his team at the midway point of the season. Now we’ve reached that stage, his Chelsea team is head and shoulder ahead of the rest.
Still, Conte says “the light is on Chelsea after a great first part of the season, and for this reason we must work more” and he will not rest on his laurels.
With these comments you know that he won’t let his side drop the ball, even though he intends to enjoy the New Year’s celebration in London and then tackle Spurs. With Diego Costa in form, pacey wingers wrecking havoc and a rock-solid defense, Conte’s Chelsea look unstoppable as they head into the second half of the season.
His celebrations of running down the touchline and jumping in with the fans after they went 3-2 up said it all. Conte is building something very special at Chelsea but he’s still cautious. This quote sums it up.
“Numbers are not important if you do not win the title,” Conte said post-game.