Conte: Race for Premier title is almost run
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte reckons any side with aspirations of Premier League title glory is running out of time, even if Manchester City slip up.
The Blues boss says he is being realistic in suggesting his third-placed team are out of title contention. City have an 11-point lead over second-placed Manchester United and a 14-point advantage over Conte's side. The Blues have dropped just four points in the last nine games, in the draw at Liverpool and loss at West Ham, as City have increased their lead.
Conte said: "When I speak, we must be realistic. In the last nine games we won seven games, drew one and lost one. And the distance, the gap, improved for Manchester City.
"Time is moving on. They are continuing to win." Conte knows what it is like to have a long winning run. He led Chelsea to a 13-match victory sequence en route to winning the title last season. The Italian says City have benefited from signing their first-choice targets, plus a bit of luck in the latter stages of games, including against Southampton - Chelsea's opponents today.
"During the transfer market they reached their first targets and they created a great team," he added. "Manchester City is building a strong team to lead in Europe and the world. To have these 15 wins in a row, also you must be lucky, because in many games they won at the last minute or five minutes to go." Striker Alvaro Morata is available again after missing Tuesday's win at Huddersfield with a back problem and due to fatigue. Defender David Luiz (knee) remains out.