Antonio Conte has described his battle to turn around the Chelsea team he inherited from Mourinho as a transformation from ‘an ugly duckling to a swan’.
His team beat Arsenal 3-1 on Saturday to go nine points clear at the top of the table, and Conte says he couldn’t have done without having ‘blind faith’ in what he was doing from the start.
“We had won the first three games [of the season], but I didn’t like the performances.” He told Sky Sports Italia. “It was a delicate time, but not dramatic.
“Looking at last season, when Chelsea had practically the same players, you cannot immediately transform from ugly duckling into a swan. At the end of the day we found our balance. The blind faith in my ideas helped. I made some strong choices.
“There is no one particular team that worries me more. The experience of being a player really helps. I won the Champions League, but I also lost other finals and that made me more determined to win.”
Chelsea have only lost once, against Tottenham Hostpur, in 17 games, but Conte believes it is still too early to relax.
“You can’t talk about the title yet, as anything could still happen. Just look at us, Chelsea were struggling at the start and turned the whole season around. We’ve got to stay calm.
“Today Manchester City beat Swansea with two minutes to go and I would’ve preferred that game to end in a draw.”
Chelsea are now set to visit 12th placed Burnley on Sunday.