Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton believes Antonio Conte’s instant success at Stamford Bridge this season has been “nothing short of incredible”.
The 44-year-old, speaking exclusively to Shoot! from Wembley Stadium ahead of Saturday’s 2017 Emirates FA Cup final between The Blues and Arsenal, admits he has been surprised by the Italian’s remarkable impact at the London outfit.
After Chelsea finished tenth in the top-flight standings in 2015-16, 31 points adrift of unlikely champions Leicester City, BT Sport football expert Sutton said, “To go from where they have come from, tenth last season, to win the league, has been nothing short of incredible.
“Yes [it is a surprise], as there were question marks over some players and for Conte to come in, as well as [N’Golo] Kante, who we know is a good signing, he had more or less the same group of players.
“I was thinking a top four spot would have been good. But to win the league, and the manner in which they have won the league, to beat a Tottenham side who have been outstanding, is incredible.”
The Blues finished seven points clear of runners-up Tottenham in the Premier League this campaign, and 18 points clear of fifth placed Arsenal, but Sutton says competing in the UEFA Champions League next term will present Conte’s Chelsea with a whole new challenge.
“Thirty [league] games they have won this season, that is astonishing really,” he added.
“They had no Europe this season, that would of helped them, but next season will be a different test.
“But this season, you can’t fault them. In all the big occasions, where there have been questions marks, like when they had a little blip earlier on in the season, he [Conte] responded.”
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