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Neville slams Conte's Chelsea as 'woeful, unacceptable mannequins'

06 March, 2018, 01:57 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Shearer destroys Tottenham player as he shares why Liverpool have the edge

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has hit back at criticism from pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp following his side's performance during their 1-0 defeat to Manchester City this afternoon.

That is all they had - hope. "I really felt that so strongly".

With Conte's future uncertain at Chelsea as he struggles to repeat the success of his first season, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta has said he is the primary choice to return to the national team. It was all very passive. "I think if you ask the players, the players (couldn't believe it) neither", he said. If you do that then, if you lose, you do it with your head up high. And, as much as I love Chelsea, their defeat was exactly what they deserved.

The game was nearly boring, which is a compliment to City because they were in such complete control.

However, Conte's contain and counter-attack game plan was undone within a minute of the second period when Sergio Aguero's reverse pass picked out David Silva and his namesake Bernardo knocked the ball into the ground and over the helpless Thibaut Courtois for his seventh goal of the season.

Still Chelsea hardly approached the game like a team who needed points to get back in contention to qualify for Europe's elite competition. They got their reward because they went 1-0 up and nearly held on to win. They played so many passes because Chelsea allowed them to.

Chelsea, the reigning Premier League champions, look set to relinquish their crown to Pep Guardiola's rampant side this campaign. Records are always a outcome of what you have done but they are not the main thing.

Conte's post-match comments highlighted the gulf that has opened up between City, the leader by 18 points, and the rest of the league.

That meant that two Chelsea players were doing nothing while, in the space between the Blues' defence and midfield, City's players were left to do whatever they liked.

"Last season we did a fantastic job". A lot of the time they were just kicking the ball away. "If you give City space behind us the game can finish not 1-0".

It is looking increasingly likely that Chelsea and Arsenal will be the teams from the Premier League's "Big Six" to miss out on Champions League qualification this season.

Instead they just kept on playing the same way. It was really frustrating to see that they didn't.

What could Chelsea have done differently?

Chelsea did not register a single shot on target, leaving Manchester City keeper Ederson a virtual bystander as he was even able to watch Alonso's timid shot drift wide with seconds left.

"If you want to win a game away (from) home in the best league in the world", Cech wrote, "your GK can't concede 2 goals like I did today.it's not possible".

"We are not going to play for the records".

Play long, and you are far from your own goal and you don't need to win the ball there - the opposition do.

On his tactics, Conte added, "We tried to have patience. In the last game against United I did it before with Hazard and it didn't change". I was looking forward to watching this game today.

What next for Chelsea?

Silva has assisted 73 Premier League goals since his debut in August 2010, 20 more than any other player in that time. Arsenal hasn't lost four matches in a row since 2002.

All these rumours about Conte's future will not help the team, either.

In driving rain, and with Chelsea mysteriously refusing to take off the handbrake, they were able to close out a victory that will, in its own way, have brought as much pleasure to Guardiola as numerous more spectacular wins this season.

Ruud Gullit was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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