Antonio Conte’s Chelsea could make Alex Ferguson eat his words

• Ex-Manchester United manager dismissed Chelsea as title challengers
• Italian pleased with his side’s improvement since switch to 3-4-3

Antonio Conte had done a sterling job in fudging his responses to questions about his team’s role in the title race but there was the merest hint of a mask slipping when it was put to him that Sir Alex Ferguson, quoted last week, had not included Chelsea in his five-strong list of Premier League contenders.

“I respect a lot what he said but I know that we are working very well,” Conte responded. “I think we are now in a good way to improve a lot and to become a team that can stay until the end to get something.”

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