Tag: Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte: Chelsea manager to stay despite thrashing by Watford

Antonio Conte will not be sacked as Chelsea manager in the wake of their 4-1 thrashing defeat at the hands of Watford on Monday night.

Conte’s position was not discussed after the match, and expects to oversee the game against West Bromwich Albion next week.

The fact that Chelsea still remains in the top four of the Premier Leauge and are still in the running for both the Champions League and FA Cup were cited as reasons not to make a managerial change right now, while it was also understood that the Italian has since given his players three days off.

Conte also admitted his team had played “with fear” at Vicarage Road and rejected using injuries and fatigue as an excuse for their poor form, but conceded that an empty week is an opportunity to grant his players a rest amidst a busy schedule since the turn of the year.

With the defending champions are now fourth in the Premier League and 19 points behind leaders Manchester City, Conte said that “the club have to take another decision” if they think he is not doing a good enough job.

Still, there is support for the former Juventus coach as Blues captain Gary Cahill has voiced out his support for Conte, saying that the players needed to “look in the mirror” after the Blues’ second straight three-goal defeat.

“The manager has done an absolutely unbelievable job,” Cahill added. “This is the worst I’ve felt for quite a while. Performance-wise at Watford I didn’t recognise us or myself. It was abysmal. We just need to keep strong. I’ve been here before at this club: it’s about staying calm. But it hurts a lot when you come off after a performance like that.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea have denied reports in Spain that their director Marina Granovskaia has met the former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique about succeeding Conte and insist it remains business as usual at the club despite only two wins in 10 games since the turn of the year.

Antonio Conte challenges Chelsea to make “statement of support”

Antonio Conte has challenged the hierarchy at Chelsea to issue a statement of support” to back his tenure and quash suggestions his job is under threat.

Conte will go into Monday’s game at Watford with his side 19 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City. Chelsea’s title defense has been reduced to a campaign for a finish in the top four at best as a testing second campaign in charge reaches its final months.

There have also been alleged tensions behind the scenes between Conte and club officials over recruitment, as well as concerns over the intensity of his training and calls of late from the head coach for the board to show “realism” and “patience”.

Although it appears inevitable to many that Conte will leave Chelsea in the summer, the head coach has called for a public show of support to demonstrate he retains the board’s backing even in the short term.

“I must be honest, there were these type of rumours and speculation [that he might be sacked] even after the first game of the season when we lost against Burnley,” Conte said.

“Maybe I’d like the club to prepare a statement for me, no? To say they trust me in my work and my job.But, at the same time, I know this never happened in the past, so why should I hope for something different? But, for sure, I’d like to have a statement of support against this speculation.”

Chelsea have played 40 games this season — that number was 28 at this stage last year — and there had been concerns Conte has not eased the intensity of training.

However, the former Italian international coach insists that it was in the contrary, saying: “If you compare to the other clubs, we have fewer injuries. The only problem is that, this season, we are playing a lot more and our squad wasn’t big enough to give them the right rest. We are working less [in training] than last season. A lot less.”

“For sure, you have to change your plan, your work. When you play every three days, it’s impossible to give intensity in these two days between one game and another. Sometimes, when I have had the possibility, I have tried to do a little window of work for the players I had decided to rest [after a game].

Antonio Conte: Chelsea manager concedes title after loss to West Ham

Antonio Conte conceded that Chelsea’s title defence “never started” and that his team are out of the Premier League title race after losing to West Ham United.

Marko Arnautovic’s goal earned the Hammers, who are in 18th place, a 1-0 victory over the Blues at London Stadium, while the champions suffered a fourth defeat of the season on Saturday and are 11 points behind leaders Manchester City.

During the start of the Premier League season, Chelsea opened their title defence with a loss against Burnley and had also gone on to lose in back-to-back games against Manchester City and struggling Crystal Palace. West Ham were without a win in eight league games before defeating the Blues last weekend.

Those defeats saw the defending champions dropping 16 points, just five short of the entire number they ceded in 2016-17, and Conte admitted that it is far short of the standard required for a realistic tilt at the top.

“To talk about the title race after a defeat, I think it a bit strange,” the Italian said. “Especially as this is the fourth defeat this season in 16 games. When you have this task it is impossible to think that you are in the title race.”

“My experience is this: if you want to stay in the race for the title, in the first part of the season you can lose once or twice. After 16 games, if you lose four, it means you never started this race.”

Conte also added that the players were tired in the game, rarely threatening despite their 69% possession.

“We created the chances but didn’t take them,” Conte added. “Today, many players were tired. It is normal when you play every few days. We started our pre-season with the same players, a lot are playing almost always, and you have to pay something for this.”

“We  have a lot of reason to justify the result against Manchester City — we played after two days. When you lose against Palace, when they are bottom of the table, and lose again against West Ham when they are in a bad position — if you lose points in these games, you are not in the title race.”