Antonio Conte reiterated that he prefers to tell "the truth rather than a good lie" about Chelsea's chances of catching Manchester City in the Premier League title race after Tuesday's convincing 3-1 away win over Huddersfield Town.
Goals from Tiemoue Bakayoko, Willian and Pedro Rodriguez put Chelsea out of sight at the John Smith's Stadium before Laurent Depoitre's injury-time consolation, with the result providing an emphatic response to Saturday's limp defeat against London rivals West Ham.
Conte faced criticism in the wake of that loss for saying it was "impossible" to consider Chelsea title contenders as long as City maintain their blistering form, and the Italian doubled down on his stance after praising his players' response against Huddersfield.
"I think when you tell the truth, this is the truth," Conte said in his postmatch news conference. "Now we have 11 points less than Manchester City, and they have to play tomorrow. They have won 15 and drew one. In 17 games we lost four games.
"When you have a competitor like Manchester City that is winning every game it is very difficult to think you can win the title. People say talk negative or positive. It's bulls---.
"I would rather tell the truth than a good lie. Sometimes I can be too honest, I like to speak to the players and fans.
"It doesn't mean that we are not going to try to catch them. This league is very difficult and to drop points can happen."
Conte did, however, have plenty of positive things to say about Chelsea's performance.
"I think we must be very happy for the performance, because from the start of the game we showed great personality, great desire to win the game against a really good team," he added.
"Don't forget Huddersfield won against Manchester United and Manchester City struggled a lot against them. To win this way is very important because it improves our confidence, especially after a defeat against West Ham.
"In the last nine games Chelsea won seven games, drew only one against Liverpool away and lost against West Ham. I think that we are having a good path in the league but there is a team in this moment that it is difficult to stop.
"Otherwise we will stay there with United, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal to fight for the title. We have to try to continue in this way, because my players enjoy to play this type of football, to have this great combination play between our strikers.
"I saw a lot of positive things, but one negative was to concede at the end. We must improve in this because it is important to keep clean sheets, for the goalkeeper and the team."
Conte was also full of praise for Bakayoko, who was hauled off a half-time in the loss at the London Stadium.
"I think he played a really good game,'' the Italian said of the 23-year-old. "This guy is a young player, a player with great potential and I think he is starting to understand what I want.''