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Antonio Conte: Don't compare my time at Chelsea to Jose Mourinho's first spell

ESPN's Alison Bender previews the FA Cup semi-final matches where Chelsea take on Southampton and Manchester United face Tottenham.

LONDON -- Antonio Conte insisted that his achievement in winning the Premier League title with Chelsea last season cannot be compared with Jose Mourinho's blistering first spell at Stamford Bridge because of the different "era" that the club is competing in.

Thursday's 2-1 win over Burnley was the 65th victory of Conte's first 100 matches as Chelsea head coach. In the club's modern history, only Mourinho (72 wins in his first 100 games) fared better en route to winning back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.

When presented with these numbers Conte said he was not satisfied with his record -- which has been hampered by a disappointing second season that sees Chelsea lie fifth in the Premier League after 34 matches -- but added that Chelsea were in a very different situation when Mourinho first arrived in the summer of 2004.

"I could do better, yes," Conte said. "This is my mentality. For sure, this is a good stat but I know that, this season, we could have done better. Mourinho was 72 in the first 100? We are talking about a great manager, [but] don't forget that the first 100 games with Mourinho were many years ago.

"Now it's not simple, I think, to have this type of results in this moment, in this present Chelsea. I must be pleased for the players, for the club, but for sure, we could do better."

In contrast with the free-spending early years of the Roman Abramovich era, Conte has repeatedly clashed with the Chelsea hierarchy this season over a recruitment policy that has seen him denied many of his top transfer targets, while Manchester City and Manchester United have both made bigger investments in their squads.

Conte also pointed out that he inherited a group of players in the summer of 2016 that had slumped to a 10th-place finish in the Premier League under Mourinho and caretaker successor Guus Hiddink.

"There are different eras," he added. "I have to consider this. I repeat, I won a title with Juventus after two seventh places. When you win a title in this way, it's a great, great achievement. Not a simple achievement. Last season we won a title after a 10th place.

"When you win a title in this way, it means it's a great, great achievement. Not a simple achievement, only because your name is Chelsea and it's normal because, in the past, you won many titles. You have to see the era you are going through."

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.


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