Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has pointed out what he thinks was the biggest issue with his side’s loss to Manchester City – and said it was all down to Eden Hazard playing for too long.
He admitted he felt a substitution could have been made earlier and a traditional forward could have been used and many Chelsea fans would say Hazard shouldn’t have been taken off at all, instead playing from the start on the wing and Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud playing up top and leading the line.
Conte said after the game: “I tried to wait because the substitution was with Hazard. You hope until the end that a player like Hazard can invent something.
“We were unlucky in this aspect. I decided to do this a bit late. Against United I did it before with Hazard and it didn’t change.
“I think we must have big regret for the defeat against Bournemouth, Watford and Manchester United but I don’t think we have regret today. Today we played against a team that is showing to be a strong team.
“Today they showed the difference between them and us at this moment, 25 points is a big gap and we can have regret for the other games but not for this one.
“The effort of the players was important. When you play against City, a team that show fantastic quality and mentality. When you match quality and mentality, you become unstoppable.”
Conte isn’t just coming in for stick from the fans – also the pundits are giving him a hard time, although that’s not something he seems willing to accept, instead hitting out and claiming he would never set his side up to lose by a big margin – like other teams have against Man City this season.
That being said, his tactics certainly didn’t work, and he could be in for some more trouble if he decides to face Barcelona using a false nine when Chelsea need at least a goal to go through.