LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea will face a much tougher game on Sunday than their straightforward 3-0 win in August over Burnley because of the latter’s remarkable home form, manager Antonio Conte said on Friday.
The Italian has done his homework on the statistics. “They’re really strong at home, they’re third in the table for home games with Chelsea top and Tottenham second,” he told a news conference.
Burnley have taken 28 of their 29 points this season from matches at Turf Moor, losing at home only to Swansea City on the opening day, Arsenal in October and Manchester City in November.
Since then they have won seven successive home games in the Premier League and FA Cup.
“It’s a fantastic achievement,” Conte added.
“The style is always the same. They fight a lot, play a lot of long balls and put a lot of pressure when we have the ball.”
After taking four points from games against Liverpool and Arsenal, Chelsea’s players were given extra time off.
“I thought they deserved it because we had three games in seven days,” said Conte, who took the opportunity to return to Italy. “It’s important to have two or three days off, to relax with the family, and come back fresher.”
Despite having a nine-point lead at the top of the table, with only one defeat in the last 18 league matches, Conte insisted the top six teams can still win the title.
“If we think that with a nine-point lead we are close to winning the title it’s a big mistake,” he said.
Reporting by Steve Tongue; Editing by Hugh Lawson