Conte expects physical battle at Old Trafford
LONDON, England (AP):
League leaders Chelsea travel to Old Trafford on Sunday to meet rivals Manchester United knowing a win at the Theatre of Dreams would give them and manager Antonio Conte a major step towards the English Premier League title. Chelsea would then require 12 points from their remaining six games to be crowned champions in Conte's first season in charge. It would also hurt United's chances of finishing in the top four and securing a Champions League place.
But Conte is wary, especially as United have gone 21 league games without defeat since their 4-0 mauling by Chelsea in October.
"We face a really strong team physically and technically. United want to find a place in the first four of the table and they have every possibility of doing that," the Italian said.
JosÈ Mourinho has already had two miserable defeats inflicted on United this season at Stamford Bridge by his former team.
"You say it's emotional but, for me, it's a game," Mourinho said. "It's one more game. No different for me. Not at all."
Chelsea are unbeaten outside the capital this season, having only lost away league games at London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham. The Blues also have the best away record in the top flight with a 36-point haul from 16 games, and have won their last three games on the road.
Chelsea have also not lost to United since a 3-2 Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge at the end of October 2012. In 12 meetings since, Chelsea have won seven and drawn five. The last three games at Old Trafford have been draws.