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Conte puts ball in Chelsea’s court after 4-1 Watford loss

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte looks on during their English Premier League match with Watford on Monday night.
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte looks on during their English Premier League match with Watford on Monday night.

Conte puts ball in Chelsea’s court after 4-1 Watford loss

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said he will lose no sleep over the threat he could be sacked less than a year after winning the Premier League following a 4-1 thrashing at Watford on Monday night.

The champions have now conceded seven goals in their last two outings after also going down 3-0 at home to Bournemouth last week to put their chances of Champions League qualification for next season in serious peril.

“Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach or not – what is the problem?” said Conte. “I go to sleep without a problem.

“I try to do everything and, if this is enough OK, otherwise the club take a different decision. The life goes on.”

Defeat leaves Chelsea still lagging in fourth and just a point ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the battle for the top four.

Conte has repeatedly complained throughout the campaign at his lack of input towards the club’s recruitment strategy.

Once more the Italian lined up without a recognised striker at Vicarage Road, with Alvaro Morata sidelined by injury and new-signing Olivier Giroud deemed fit enough only for a place on the bench.

However, Conte also delivered some stinging criticism to his players, who he said “played with fear”.

“I try to continue to work to try to improve different aspects of my players, but today I think our performance was very poor,” Conte said. “For sure I have to take the responsibility because maybe I made the wrong decision for the starting XI.

“To play football in a big club it means you must have personality. It is simple to play when there is the confidence. In this type of moment you can see who is [made] for a great club, to play with personality to risk something.”

‘A loser finds excuses’

Chelsea’s task wasn’t made any easier when Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent-off after just half an hour for two quickfire bookable offences.

Troy Deeney’s penalty put the hosts in front just before the break, but Chelsea were offered a lifeline eight minutes from time by a brilliant 25-yard strike from Eden Hazard.

And Conte was particularly annoyed with his side’s reaction in the closing stages as they conceded three times in the final six minutes to Daryl Janmaat, Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra.

“In the second-half I saw great will and desire, but a lot of confusion. We were able to draw and I think in that moment we must be good to manage the situation, to understand the moment.

“A great team must do this, instead in 10 minutes we concede three goals.”

Conte also refused to accept injuries and fatigue are the reason for the stark difference in Chelsea’s performances in results from his first season where they didn’t have the distraction of European football.

“For sure it is a difficult moment and if we want to find excuses or alibis always we can find everything,” Conte added .

“This is not my way to face the situation to solve the problem.

“The winner finds a solution, the loser finds excuses. In my life I like to be a winner and I am a winner.”

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