Conte looking to make Chelsea impenetrable again
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 29, 2017 08:34 AM
Chelsea's manager Antonio Conte shouts during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Tuesday, April 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)LONDON (AP) — Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is no fan of statistics.
Still, the Italian cannot ignore one numerical fact: his team, four points ahead of Tottenham at the top of the Premier League with five games to play, has not kept a clean sheet in 11 league games.
"I don't like stats a lot, but it's important to know. Sometimes the stats are not true, above all for possession. You can have good possession and then you lose the game. So some stats are not so important," Conte said Friday.
"But the stat about clean sheets is an important stat. It's 11 games that we have not been able to keep a clean sheet. It's important to improve, to work on the situations where we are conceding goals. I am not concerned about this, but at the same time we are working."
Chelsea appeared to be racing toward the title last month when it held a 10-point lead at the top, but losses to Crystal Palace and Manchester United have allowed Spurs to close the gap.
The last time Chelsea kept an opponent from scoring was on Jan. 22 against Hull. And with Everton forward Romelu Lukaku up next to test Chelsea's backline at Goodison Park on Sunday, Conte is concerned.
"He's scoring a lot of goals this season but not only this season. We must pay great attention," Conte said. "Everton are a really good, strong team with great players in their squad. They have good quality, they are a physical team also. They have a good manager."
Lukaku is the Premier League's top scorer this season with 24 goals and has been linked with a big-money move back to Stamford Bridge. The Belgium international left Chelsea in 2014 but is expected to leave Everton after telling the club he will not sign a new contract.
With Chelsea's game at seventh-place Everton scheduled to finish before Tottenham's home match with Arsenal has started on Sunday, Chelsea could put the pressure on its rivals with a victory.
"It's not an advantage (to play before Tottenham)," Conte said. "At the end of the season, I think that when you have two teams in the race, in contention for the title, you must have a good balance to try to put the fixtures in the same hour, on the same days, and don't give advantage to one team or another."