(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte refused to give extra significance to Sunday’s Premier League clash at Manchester United, saying his team were just focussed on picking up another three points to maintain their lead at the top.
Second-placed Tottenham Hotspur are seven points adrift in their relentless pursuit of Chelsea, having picked up six consecutive league wins, and will look to provisionally close the gap to four points when they host Bournemouth on Saturday.
Conte reckons the title race will continue right until the end of the season.
“I think this game is like any other game and for us the most important thing is the three points,” the Italian manager told a news conference on Friday.
“This (title) was our target at the start of the season... For sure the road is long and there are other teams who want to win the title and I think for this reason it will be until the end of the season.”
United manager Jose Mourinho will field a strong side this weekend despite the game being sandwiched between the two-legged Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht.
Fifth-placed United are four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, with a game in hand, and need to finish in the top four or win the Europa League to make the Champions League.
“For sure we will face a really strong team because Manchester United are a really good team, physically and technically very strong, and for this reason we must pay great attention,” Conte added.
“United also want to play and find a place in next season’s Champions League and arrive in the first four and I think they have every possibility to do this.”
United are on a 21-game unbeaten league run since losing 4-0 in October at Chelsea, who have the best away record in the league, having lost just twice in 16 games this season.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris