Manchester City a 'big problem' for Premier League title hopefuls, acknowledges Conte
Manchester City's incredible Premier League form is proving a "big problem" for the leaders' title rivals, says Antonio Conte.
Last season, Chelsea swept aside all comers en route to a second title in three seasons, but this term find themselves nine points adrift of Pep Guardiola's swashbuckling side.
City have dropped just two points from their opening 10 matches and nearest rivals Manchester United are five off the pace.
This weekend sees Chelsea entertain United at Stamford Bridge, and asked if it was a game his side cannot lose, Conte believes there is a bigger issue at play.
"But I think that, now, there is a big problem for all the teams that want to fight for the title, and this big problem is Manchester City," he told a media conference.
"Because, if Manchester City continue in this way, I think this is the big problem for all the teams who are thinking about fighting for the title.
"If they continue in this way, it will be very difficult to fight for the title. But, for sure, we have to try to do our best in every game. I think that, until now, we deserve to have this [number of] points."
Conte says there is a big problem for all the teams that want to fight for the title - and that problem is Manchester City.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 3, 2017
Asked if City can maintain their level over a full season, Conte added: "I don't know. Honestly, I don't know.
"Until now, though, they are having a fantastic path. A fantastic path. If they continue in this way, it will be very difficult for all the teams to try and fight for the title until the end."
Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by City at Stamford Bridge in September to crank up the pressure against United, but Conte says his players must embrace the challenge of facing the league's elite.
"I think when you play against Manchester United, City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham... I think it's always a big game," he said.
"I think this type of game must excite the players, to play in a fantastic atmosphere, to play and to know that a lot of people will watch the game in the whole world. Yes. I think it's a really big game."
With Chelsea off the pace in the title race and having been humbled 3-0 by Roma in the Champions League midweek, Conte has had to fend off questions over his long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
He added: "Honestly, I feel always the same pressure. The same pressure. Because, before the game, I feel the pressure to win. In every game. Last season it was the same.
"When you stay on top of the table you feel the pressure to win because you want to stay on top of the table.
"I feel always the same pressure. This is very important. Above all for me because I'm a passionate man with a great enthusiasm. I need to feel this type of pressure.
"I like the pressure. I was born with the pressure."