Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confessed that climbing back into the top four of the Premier League “is not simple” following his side’s loss to Manchester United.
The Blues let a one-goal lead slip at Old Trafford to go down 2-1, meaning back-to-back away losses in the top flight for the first time since November 2015.
Defeat against United, coupled with Tottenham Hotspur’s late 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, ensures that the champions end the weekend fifth in the table and two points outside the Champions League spots.
Conte acknowledges that Chelsea now have a real battle on their hands to move back in front of Tottenham, in what is proving to be another tight battle for a top-four finish.
“There is this risk. We must be ready to be concentrated, and to understand this target is an important target for us,” he is quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “In this league, getting a place in the Champions League is not simple.
“We are disappointed with the final result. We had a great chance to get three points against a competitor for a place in the Champions League, but in the end we are talking about another defeat.
“This country has the only championship where you can find six teams who start the season by fighting to win the title or getting a place in the Champions League.”
Chelsea return to action next Sunday with another trip to Manchester, this time to face runaway leaders Man City.