Antonio Conte has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at Jose Mourinho by claiming that he inherited “a lot of problems” when taking charge of Chelsea last summer.
The Blues endured a torrid campaign last time out, eventually finishing 10th in the table after sacking Mourinho midway through and bringing in experienced head Guus Hiddink.
After guiding Chelsea to the brink of Premier League title success in his first term at the helm – the club’s fifth in 12 years – Conte was keen to praise his players for getting back on track in what has been a stellar campaign to date.
“I’d like to underline that the start of the season wasn’t easy because we faced a lot of problems, we had to solve a lot of problems,” he told reporters. “I repeat, when you finish 10th in the league, it means the problem is not only one, but there are a lot of problems.
“The problem is not only one person, you must divide the fault, for this reason we tried to start the season by trying to solve the problems with the players, we tried to find a solution with my staff, they were created in the last season. I have to thank my players and the staff because they worked very hard to change this.
“I have to say thanks to my players because it’s not easy to adapt to a new method, a new philosophy, to work very hard to change totally, when you compare this season with the past. We are doing a really good job, but I want it to become great and fantastic, we have two big opportunities to finish in the right way.”
Chelsea, seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur, require victory against West Bromwich Albion on Friday night to make certain of the title.