Antonio Conte laments last season’s missed opportunity in the FA Cup fearing it is a harder competition for Chelsea to win this time.
The Blues were upset 2-1 by Arsenal in the 2017 showpiece at Wembley and Conte, whose side had already been crowned Premier League champions, insists it is a game they should have won.
Southampton block the path to a second successive final appearance and if they do prevail at Wembley on Sunday, Conte believes that either Manchester United or Tottenham would prove tougher opponents that the Gunners.
“Last season we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup and we could have done better,” Conte said.
“If we can win against Southampton and reach the final then I think it will be more difficult against Tottenham or Manchester United.
“Last season we were in the best condition to win the FA Cup but we missed that chance and it was our fault.
“At that moment we were stronger than them. This season it will be more difficult.
“I remember that some refereeing decisions weren’t good because the first goal they scored was handball for Alexis Sanchez.
“We finished the game with 10 men and because of this we conceded the goal at the last. Arsenal did a great job to win the FA Cup.”
Chelsea have been replaced as Premier League champions by Manchester City, leaving the FA Cup as the last possible source of silverware for the 2017-18 campaign.
“I play only to win and not to enjoy. I try to transfer this mentality to my players,” Conte said.
“I start every season with just one idea in mind: to win. It’s in my heart, mind and soul. It must always be this winning mentality.
“If I win something I did my job, I didn’t do something special. If I don’t win I’m very angry with myself, but am also ready to work harder to win something at the next chance.
“The FA Cup is an important competition to win because it means you’re on of the best teams, but everyone wants to win and only one team can.”