Chelsea boss Antonio Conte made a veiled criticism of Manchester United and Manchester City’s transfer spending, saying money does not guarantee success.
Jose Mourinho’s United bought Paul Pogba for a world record fee of £89m and Pep Guardiola’s City made big outlays on players such as £50m defender John Stones in the summer.
Chelsea were third in Premier League spending last summer but will point to their significantly smaller net spend, given they received big fees for players including £60m for Oscar, in the past 12 months.
Conte can take the Blues a step closer to the title when they face Southampton live on Sky Sports on Tuesday night, and was keen to focus on the financial outlay of City and United, who are 11 and 12 points behind his side respectively.
“This season it’s very important to understand that it’s not always about who spends more money who wins,” Conte added.
“This season isn’t the only season both Manchester clubs have spent a lot of money. Look at the past.”
“[We want] to build, also, slowly slowly to become a real power.”
Conte believes winning the Premier League title in his first season at Chelsea would represent his greatest achievement in management.
A win over Southampton would restore a seven-point lead over nearest rivals Tottenham, who face Crystal Palace 24 hours later.
Conte’s Chelsea have a four-point advantage with six games to go, but beat Spurs 4-2 on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final with Arsenal and keep alive prospects of a double.
Asked if clinching the Premier League would be his best achievement, multiple Serie A winner Conte said: “Yes, for sure. For me, for the players, for the club.
“To win the title in England is a great achievement. To win in England these days is not easy.
“Now it’s a good season. To become a great or fantastic season there is only one way: to try to win.”