Antonio Conte hit out at "bull****" negativity surrounding Chelsea's fading Premier League title defence, insisting his side must be realistic when it comes to trying to overhaul runaway leaders Manchester City.
Chelsea accounted for Huddersfield Town 3-1 on Tuesday, though the reigning champions remain 11 points adrift of unbeaten City, who are due to play on Wednesday.
That gap could widen to 14 points following City's trip to Swansea City midweek after just 17 matches of the Premier League season.
Conte conceded that Chelsea's hopes of retaining the title were "impossible" after last week's 1-0 loss at West Ham and the Italian head coach offered no apologies for writing off the club's Premier League challenge.
"I think when you tell the truth, this is the truth," Conte told reporters.
"Now we have 14 points less than Manchester City. They have won 15 games and drew one. Instead in 17 games we lost four games.
"When you have a competitor like Manchester City that every game they are winning it is very difficult to think you can fight for the title. Because, 'you are negative, positive, you think negative', it's bull****, bull****. You must be realistic, we must be realistic. I would rather tell the truth, than a good lie. I am this way. Sometimes I can be too honest, but I like to speak very honest with my players with our fans also.
"It doesn't mean that we don't try to catch them. But we have to hope we have a big, big slip and then for us to win every game in this league. This league is very difficult and every game you have to put 120 per cent of yourself, otherwise you risk to lose or draw and to drop points."
Conte, who saw Tiemoue Bakayoko, Willian and Pedro score on Tuesday, added: "In your league when you have a team that have 16 games and 15 wins and draw one game it is not simple to think in a positive way. In the last nine games we won seven games, drew against Liverpool and lost one game but despite this we are now 11 points and they play tomorrow so the distance might be the same, 14 points.
"They are having a fantastic path but at the same time we must go game by game and get three points for our table, this league is very difficult, there are six teams to fight for the title and the Champions League and the Europa League.
"We have to look at our ourselves and to improve and have this type of game, because I enjoyed to watch my players play this football."
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Stokes ´can´t wait´ for England return after ECB clearance|
|Kawhi Leonard´s rehab shut down as quad problem lingers|
|Folger out of MotoGP season due to illness|
|Stokes should not take my place - Bairstow|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Steelers will not retain offensive coordinator Todd Haley|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Brady named writers´ NFL MVP|
|Du Plessis wants action on slow pitches|
|Johnson back to his best after Augusta accident|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Centurion hero Ngidi aiming high|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Uncapped Larmour named in Ireland´s Six Nations squad|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|Kohli bristles at selection questions|
|England forward Haskell handed four-week suspension|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Three-week ban for Bastareaud for alleged homophobic slur|
|IOC to consider joint Korean ice hockey team|
|Sri Lanka ODI woes drag on with Zimbabwe defeat|
|Batsmen let India down against South Africa - Kohli|
|Five fun facts as LeBron James chases 30K career points|
|Bastareaud named in France squad ahead of disciplinary hearing|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Dimitrov, Tsonga survive gruelling battles as Nadal cruises through|
|Carey ton sends Strikers back top of BBL|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Nadal backs move for financial parity but silent on boycott talk|
|Stokes available for England selection, set for NZ return|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Debutant Ngidi hurries SA to series win as India crumble in Centurion|
|Eddie Jones signs new England contract|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|England setting the benchmark in ODIs, says Warner|
|Federer would be unreal at any sport - Shapovalov|
|Athletic reward Williams with contract until 2025|
|Nadal too good for Mayer at Australian Open|
|Jones taking unlikely inspiration from City in United´s title pursuit|
|I had one foot out of the Australian Open – Wozniacki revels in fightback|
|Beware the nearly beaten in Melbourne – Wozniacki could match Kerber, Li|
|Rallying Tsonga outlasts Shapovalov in five-set epic|
|Wozniacki saves two match points in dramatic Aus Open comeback|
|Kostyuk, 15, ready to spend after Melbourne run|
|Thomas turns down Celtics´ video tribute|
|Moyes unaware of Chelsea interest in Carroll|
|Verdi wants Bologna stay amid Napoli links|
|Ronaldinho retires – A shining light of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Ronaldinho retires – a World Cup and Ballon d´Or among Brazil great´s prizes|
|Celtics great White dead at 71|
|World Cup glory and Bernabeu magic - Ronaldinho´s best moments for Barca and Brazil|
|Trust the Process – 76ers only behind Warriors and Cavs in merchandise sales|
|Ligue 1 Review: Balotelli at the double as Payet shines and Malcom toils|
|Pato still dreaming of World Cup selection|
|FA Cup Review: Iheanacho makes VAR history, kit confusion reigns|
|Wallaby saves wallaby: Farr-Jones in Sydney Harbour Bridge rescue mission|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: PSG, Man City drive record-breaking spending|
|Conte packing in homework as Chelsea games stack up|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: The headlines in transfers, wages and revenues|