Conte: More difficult to retain title in England than in Italy

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes that retaining the league title is an easier task in Italy than it is in the English Premier League due to the transfer policies of the leading clubs.

Conte won the second of his three consecutive Serie A titles at Juventus in 2013 after rivals AC Milan sold forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato and defender Thiago Silva.

Napoli had off-loaded winger Ezequiel Lavezzi in the previous transfer window.

After Chelsea won the league title last season, their main rivals - Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal - made significant investment in their squads.

"It is very difficult for every team in this league. To defend - it is very difficult to win two titles in a row," Conte said.

"We won the title with Juventus and I was expecting a really strong challenge from AC Milan but, instead, they sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain, so they became weaker.

"It wasn't simple second time, but it was easier.

"Here, from last season to this season, you have big teams and now they are bigger...

"And now after I think a great transfer market, they have improved a lot.

"It's not simple to play this league."

City and United splashed out in the last transfer window and the two Manchester clubs lead the league table on 19 points from seven games, followed by Spurs in third.

Chelsea dropped to fourth, six points behind the leaders, after losing 1-0 to City on Saturday, with the defeat compounded by a muscle injury to star striker Alvaro Morata.

Conte's team travel to basement side Crystal Palace, who are yet to win a league game this season, on Oct 14. - REUTERS

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