Antonio Conte: We have 19 points and we deserve to have 19 points

Despite Chelsea's victory over Bournemouth on Saturday night, we sit in fourth place with a gap of nine points to the Premier League ...

Despite Chelsea's victory over Bournemouth on Saturday night, we sit in fourth place with a gap of nine points to the Premier League leaders Manchester City. 

Ask anyone of the Premier League title race and everyone with in depth knowledge of our game will tell you to look to after the busy Christmas and New Year period to see where we are at, to then judge our progress through the first half of the season. There is no point looking at the league table now, there is no point making ridiculous claims that Manchester City will walk away with the title and there is no point in writing Antonio Conte's Chelsea out of it.

That's the thing though isn't it. We are reading all kinds of negativity and bullshit at the moment it's laughable really. We are just three months into the season and the press would have us believe that Chelsea are in crisis, Antonio Conte is in crisis and we are a shadow of the side that dominated the Premier League last season.

On Saturday evening in his post-match press conference, Antonio Conte was asked of Chelsea's challenge for the title this season which really is ridiculous. He responded by saying:

"We have 19 points and we deserve to have 19 points.

We are first in our group in the Champions League. We went into the next round of the Carabao Cup after going out in the second round last season.

I'm very happy with this group. There are players who are very honest, players who want to fight until the end for something important.

Are we able to do this? I don't know. But we will try to stay there. I know very well that, in England in this league, there are six top teams, very strong."

Simple and to the point from Conte, we really do deserve to have 19 points. However, there is plenty for people to consider here which seems to have been overlooked.

We started the season without Eden Hazard, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater, we have received three match suspensions for Gary Cahill and David Luiz in addition to serious injuries to N'Golo Kante, Alvaro Morata and Victor Moses. All things considering, I think we have done OK.

You and I know that things can change in an instant in the Premier League. Just look at the amount of money spent in the summer window and look at that spent by our title rivals. The league is stronger this season than it was last year and will be stronger again next season - that's just the money in the game for you now.

People can spend the money they have to bring in the players they have but for me the manager is so so important. How many points do you think Antonio Conte was worth for the decisions he made last season? He will be worth the same again in my view because he demands hard work and discipline from his players. His tactical knowledge of the game - to change formations within a game as often as he does if he has to is second to none and I do no see anyone else doing the same.

As Conte says, we need to take each game as it comes, one game at a time and focus on that rather than looking long term. Let's leave the press to do that for now and see where we find ourselves in January. Only then will we see the title race take shape and it will be interesting to see where Antonio Conte and his players find themselves.

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