Chelsea boss Conte: It's easier for Dyche at Burnley
Antonio Conte has been impressed by Sean Dyche's exploits at Burnley this season but feels it is easier for managers to shine further down the Premier League.
Burnley are closing in on securing European qualification for the first time in over 50 years, the Clarets sitting seventh, two points adrift of Arsenal and eight back from Chelsea.
While Dyche has been widely praised this season, Conte continues to be linked with an exit from Stamford Bridge following a disappointing defence of their Premier League title that has left them facing a season without Champions League football next term.
But the Italian thinks the lower expectations outside of the division's elite means some his counterparts, Dyche included, find it easier to stand out.
Ahead of Chelsea's trip to Burnley on Thursday, Conte said: "He is doing an important job. A great job this season. But if you start the season fighting to avoid the relegation zone, it is more simple.
"It is more simple, because you have to avoid the last three places at the bottom and then you can stay between 10 teams. And then, if you have a good base and in the previous season you played very well, you can count on this basis.
"But it is more difficult when you have to prepare the transfer market to win something because only one team wins and, if the other doesn't win, you are the first to speak about a failed season.
"If you don't win the FA Cup, the league title, or the League Cup, it is a failure and, for this reason, it is more difficult to play for this target."
Next stop, Burnley!-- Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 18, 2018
The Blues have left Cobham this afternoon and are heading north... pic.twitter.com/pbSN7Fc4xA
Burnley will be aiming to complete a double over FA Cup semi-finalists Chelsea, having triumphed 3-2 in west London on the opening day of the season.
Even before a ball was kicked that day, Dyche claims he had a sense of the campaign that was set to follow.
"I could smell it in the dressing room. I thought, 'This feels different, this is a different thing.' The players, there was a different feeling, there was a more assured feeling, we're ready, a focus, a clear-mindedness," he said.
"It does not guarantee results, but I felt it was a good feeling going into this game.
"As we won that game, that rubber-stamped that feeling and everyone carried that on. We felt, 'OK, we're ready to play.' Whereas in previous seasons it had been a nervy feeling of, 'Oh, it's Chelsea away.' That can play tricks with players.
"That wasn't just a great result against a top side, but straight away we had our first win and our first away win - and remember we had only won one game away last season."