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Chelsea will need deeper squad for Champions League - Antonio Conte

LONDON -- Antonio Conte insists that Tottenham have not been disadvantaged by European commitments in the Premier League title race, but admits Chelsea will need a bigger squad to cope with the demands of Champions League football next season.

Chelsea need just six more points to be confirmed as Premier League winners and can claim the trophy before Tottenham next take to the field, courtesy of Spurs' shock 1-0 defeat against rivals West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday.

Unlike Spurs, Conte's men have been able to focus all their energies on domestic competitions, and also hope to complete an impressive double by beating Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley later this month.

By the end of the season Tottenham will have played six more matches (53) than Chelsea (47) in all competitions, but Conte is adamant that this heavier workload has not been a decisive factor in the Premier League title race.

Asked if not playing in Europe has been an advantage for Chelsea, Conte said: "I don't know. But don't forget that Tottenham dropped at the first group stage [of the Champions League] and then dropped in the first [round] in the Europa League. If you consider our games and theirs, there is a difference of what, eight games?

"But if you consider the squads, the numbers in each squad, you can see the difference: one team prepared to play the Champions League with 25 or 26 players, and another prepared to play the league, the FA Cup and the League Cup."

Asked if that means Chelsea need more players to compete in both England and Europe next season, he replied: "Yes, for sure."

Tottenham finished third last season after pushing eventual champions Leicester City harder than any other team in the Premier League, and Conte believes Mauricio Pochettino has built his title challenge from a higher base this time around.

"I must be honest about this topic -- I think that Tottenham have an advantage if you compare them to Chelsea," he added. "Mauricio Pochettino is a really good manager and is working with his team for a third year.

"Tottenham, last season, fought to win the title and Chelsea arrived 10th. You can see our transfer market, and Tottenham's transfer market. Then I think Tottenham, in their project, have an advantage if you compare them to us.

"This is my first season and I found a lot of situations, a lot of players. Pochettino has been working there for three years and has changed a lot of players, and is working very well. For me, Tottenham are a really strong team and it's normal to see them fighting for the title.

"In this season, if Chelsea had not performed in this way, Tottenham would win the title without difficulty. Only this great season [from us] is pushing them to fight and, maybe, to win or not to win the title."