Chelsea boss Antonio Conte shrugged off the long-term significance of defeat and backed his side to embark upon a fresh winning run after coming unstuck against rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The Blues missed the chance to go eight points clear of second-placed Liverpool at the Premier League summit, while also failing to set a new top-flight record of 14 successive victories in a single season.
“My team are top of the table because we are working a lot and I think we have improved from last season,” said Conte. “For sure, this league is very tough and for this reason it is important to keep working and to improve.
“A defeat can happen, especially against Tottenham who are a strong team. Now it is important to re-start. After 13 wins in a row it is difficult to accept defeat but this is football and we must accept it.”
Skipper Gary Cahill echoed his manager’s sentiments and insisted that the Blues have the necessary backbone to ensure their title challenge is not derailed on the strength of one setback.
“The run we’ve had has been fantastic and something we should be proud of, but we dust ourselves down and go again. It won’t affect us mentally,” said Cahill.
“We’re not robots, but at the same time we could have gone to that next level today. We weren’t quite as sharp or as quick as we have been. We were a little bit short of the levels we’ve set this season and you can’t be at places like this.”