Antonio Conte still harbours top-four hopes after Chelsea’s victory over Swansea

Antonio Conte believes Chelsea’s Champions League hopes are very much alive after their 1-0 win at Swansea.

Cesc Fabregas’ fourth-minute strike – his 50th in the Premier League – settled a hard-fought contest and reduced the gap to fourth-placed Tottenham to two points.

Tottenham have a game in hand – at home to Watford on Monday – but third-placed Liverpool are also in Chelsea’s sights after being held to a goalless draw by Stoke.

Chelsea are six points behind Liverpool with a game in hand and, intriguingly, the two sides meet at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

“We got three points and it was very important for us if we wanted to keep hopes alive and achieve Champions League football,” Conte said after his 50th victory in the Premier League.

“The situation is not in our hands, but the only way to put a bit of pressure on Tottenham is to get three points in every game.

“It won’t be easy, we know they (Tottenham) will play against Watford. But you know very well football is not simple.

“It is not simple to win a game in this league but for sure our situation is not in our hands.”

Chelsea controlled the first half, with Eden Hazard impressing, and might have put the game out of sight before the interval.

But Swansea improved after the break and produced several moments of danger, although in the end they suffered a first home league defeat since January 2.

Swansea had chances in the second half
Swansea had chances in the second half (David Davies/PA)

“It was a tough game, but we knew this against a team who is fighting to avoid relegation,” Conte added.

“In the last five games at home, they won four and drew one.

“They played a good game, especially in the second half when they tried to push us.”

Swansea’s gap to the relegation zone was cut to one point after Southampton’s 2-1 home victory over Bournemouth – and it is now six games without a without a win for Carlos Carvalhal’s side.

And Swansea must hope top scorer Jordan Ayew avoids retrospective action for a late challenge on Gary Cahill when the striker appeared to catch the Chelsea defender in the neck.

Asked about Ayew’s challenge, Carvalhal said: “I don’t want to (distract) too much from what we did with referee situations. I don’t want to disturb my focus.

“The negative is we lose, the positive is we played against a strong team like a strong team plays.

“When we arrived we were five points to the teams above, we depended on others to try and get out of this position.

“In this moment we just depend on us, it’s something we have in our hands.

“We must look to the games that we have – Bournemouth, Southampton and Stoke – to try and achieve the necessary points to stay in the division.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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