When Burnley upset Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on opening day it was sign of bad things to come for the Blues this season. For Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, it’s been a year of much strife, both public and private. There’s been a ton of speculation, over the course of this season, about his potential sacking.
Expectations are higher at Chelsea than at most clubs, and if you don’t produce, then you are out. Chelsea will have their rematch with Burnley tomorrow night at the Turf Moor, and ahead of this clash, Conte described the vast difference between managing at a club like Chelsea and managing at a club like Burnley.
“He is doing an important job, a great job this season,” Antonio Conte said of Clarets boss Sean Dyche.
“But if you start the season to fight to avoid the relegation zone it is more simple, also if you have a small budget, because you can count on a team that in the past you reached the qualification to play again in the league [with].”
“It is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins, and the others must see [them] win.”
Conte is expected to finish out the season at Stamford Bridge and then move on. Perhaps that’s why he was so blunt in his assessment. He was also more than a tad condescending.
However, he is not wrong. When asked to expound upon why he thinks leading Chelsea is so much harder than coaching Burnley, he answered: “Because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom [of the league] and then you can stay between 10 teams that play only for this target.”
“And then, if you have a good base and you in the previous season played very well you can count on this. You have to fight only to avoid [relegation]. It is difficult if you have to play to win because only one team wins and the others don’t.
“You are the first to speak about a failed season if you don’t win the FA Cup, league, League Cup. It is a failure season and for this reason it is more difficult to play for this target.”
Chelsea are all but eliminated from the race to finish in the top four, and they are still sans trophy this season. However, they are still alive in the FA Cup, with a semifinal battle against Southampton coming up on Sunday.
Odds: Chelsea 5/6, Draw 12/5, Burnley 16/5
Injury report for both teams: go to this link
Chelsea Starting XI Prediction: go to this link
Prediction: Burnley 2, Chelsea 1
As always, feel free to post your own Chelsea and/or Burnley starting XI predictions, as well as your best guess as to what the final score will be.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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