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Conte starts the title race mind games as Spurs hope to cut lead to four points

Date Posted,April 4, 2017

Antonio Conte has taunted title-scrap rival Mauricio Pochettino, insisting: Everyone expectsChelsea to win the league – for Tottenham, it would be a bonus.

It is a first attempt at mind-games from the Italian, who has seen his table-toppers’ lead cut to just seven points ahead of Wednesday’s showdown against fourth-placed Manchester City.

In-form Spurs go to relegation-threatened Swansea the same night, and results could have the North Londoners just a point adrift when the Blues kick off at Bournemouth on Saturday evening.

Conte said: “The difference between Chelsea and Tottenham is this: If you are at Chelsea and win, it’s normal. If you are at Tottenham, if you win it’s great — great! — but if you lose… it’s not a disaster, no? Not a disaster. Because you find a lot of situations [positives] to explain a good season.

Tottenham have entered April as the leaders’ nearest rivals for a second season running (Photo: Reuters)

“But, I repeat, in this season, us and Tottenham stay in the same level.

“Chelsea were underdogs at the start of the season [after finishing just 10th a year ago], but now we are top and we want to keep this position.”

Spurs, playing without star striker Harry Kane, have won their last two games, scoring four goals in the process.

Pochettino’s in-form side have earned 26 points this calendar year — more than any other Premier League team.

All five of Chelsea’s league and cup defeats this season have come in London, but as City prepare to visit the Bridge a defiant Conte added: “This result will be important.

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