Conte concedes Spurs 'can fight for the title'

Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli (left) celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli (left) celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at White Hart Lane. HANNAH MCKAY

FOOTBALL: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes Spurs can challenge for the English Premier League title after two Dele Alli goals ended the Blues' 13-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory at White Hart Lane.

Conte's team was attempting to become the first team in England's top flight to win 14 games in a row but was never at the races.

Tottenham dominated and was rewarded for its control when Alli headed home a tantalising Christian Eriksen cross just before the break in a first half otherwise devoid of goalscoring chances.

The England international scored a second header in similar fashion midway through the second half as the home team continued to turn the screws and ended up a comfortable winner to inflict a first defeat on Chelsea since September.

Spurs are now in third on goal difference ahead of Manchester City and are seven points off leader Chelsea as the second half of the season gets under way.

"Tottenham are a really strong team and are, for sure, one of the teams that can fight for the title,” Conte said.

His Spurs counterpart, Mauricio Pochettino, agreed, saying his side, unbeaten at home in the league this season, "can challenge for the big things”.

"The top four is very competitive,” he said.

"There are a lot of games to play but this result is very important for us.

"We showed in our performance we can be competitive and we can achieve big things but it is also true you have to do this regularly and show consistency during the whole season.”

Conte had not seen his side drop points in 101 days since a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in September but was philosophical in defeat.

"We knew that defeat could happen before the game,” he said.

"It is a pity to stop this run, but Tottenham fought last season and they can fight also this year.

"Don't forget we lost to a good team. They are one of the six teams who can fight for the title.

"We must work hard and be pleased with our position in the table, but know this league is tough until the end.”

Topics:  antonio conte chelsea fc english premier league mauricio pochettino tottenham hotspur

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