Chelsea manager Antonio Conte acknowledges Manchester City are set up to dominate in the Premier League, and again suggested he has not been fully supported this season.
The Blues’ reign as Premier League title-holders was officially ended at the weekend as Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Tottenham, coupled with Manchester United’s shock 1-0 loss to rock-bottom West Brom, confirmed Pep Guardiola’s men as champions.
City swashbuckled their way to glory this term, with Guardiola heavily backed in the transfer market as the likes of Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and Ederson joined during the close-season, while Aymeric Laporte arrived in January.
Conte has made little secret of the fact he believes Chelsea have failed to invest sufficiently to reinforce their title-winning squad from last season, something he alluded to in praising City’s backing of Guardiola.
“They dominated this season and I think it’s right to give them compliments,” Conte said ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Burnley on Thursday.
“Don’t forget, this league is not simple, it’s very tough to win, but the way they did this was incredible and for this reason it’s right to give them our compliment.
“They did a great job this season in and out of the pitch, they did very good to prepare for this season in the right way, to improve the team and improve the squad and to continue to improve the idea of football of this coach.
“I think Manchester City is one club that can continue to dominate, to win, not only in England but also to fight for the Champions League. I think Manchester City has the possibility to do this.
“They as a club are very strong, they have a squad with great players, and they want to invest, to improve the situation. There are a lot of things right, in the right place.
“We try to finish this season in the best possible way. To look at the future is not right, we are struggling a lot this season and we must try to finish in the best position possible in the league and try to reach the final [of the FA Cup]. Our focus must be on the present.”
Chelsea are eight points off fourth-place Tottenham, but Spurs’ draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday opened the door for Conte’s men to close the gap in the race for Champions League qualification.
And the former Juventus coach insists his team will battle to the end.
He added: “We have to try until the end to reach this target. If we want to be realistic, with five games to go, it’s not simple to reduce the gap. But we must have the will to fight, the desire to try to make this target. Why not?
“We have a really important game against Burnley, a really strong team. They are having a fantastic season and it won’t be easy to get three points.”