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Mourinho's team still better than Conte's Premier League winners, claims Neville

Goal.com logo Goal.com 16-05-2017

Antonio Conte may have Chelsea back at the Premier League summit, but Gary Neville insists Jose Mourinho’s first squad at Stamford Bridge was better.

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The Blues have been the best team in the English top flight this season, winning more games, scoring more goals and collecting more points than any of their rivals.

That has allowed the title celebrations to start early in west London, with Conte still looking to end his debut campaign with a league and FA Cup double.

Conte: Costa should have shared cake!

For all of the Italian’s success, however, Manchester United legend Neville believes the team pieced together by Mourinho during his first stint at Chelsea still tops the class of 2017.

He told Sky Sports on the champions of 2004-05: "It was probably the hardest team I ever played against, 15 goals conceded. That's an incredible statistic.

"If you think of that team, (Petr) Cech, one of the best in the world, (William) Gallas one of the best defenders in the world.

"(John) Terry and (Ricardo) Carvalho probably two of the best defenders in Europe at the time, (Paulo) Ferreira was a fantastic right-back, (Claude) Makelele was the best holding midfield player in the world.

"(Frank) Lampard probably the best goalscorer in the Premier League from midfield, (Michael) Essien one of the best box-to-box players you would see and then world class up front.

"(Arjen) Robben and (Didier) Drogba in particular and ably supported by Damien Duff, who I thought was a fantastic player as well.

"To me that team will take some beating. That is the best Chelsea team and it was obviously Jose Mourinho's first team."

Terry leads Chelsea title party

Mourinho won two trophies during his first season in England, with Premier League success complemented by a League Cup triumph.

He would also go on to defend the top-flight crown in 2005-06, while adding the FA Cup to his trophy haul in 2007.

Conte’s efforts to emulate those achievements are off to the best possible start, although Mourinho will be gunning for him next season as he endeavours to push his Manchester United side back into the title picture.

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