Conte fires back at 'anti-football' criticism of tactics

06 March, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Anita Tucker

"Chelsea just gave them the three points before the game started".

"The coach made the tactics and we tried to respect it".

Craig Bellamy, in the studio, said this Chelsea performance was the most negative he had ever seen.

IT WAS a case of Silva service for the champions-elect as David set up namesake, Bernardo, for Manchester City's winning goal against Chelsea today (March 4).

"I was critical of Newcastle before Christmas because I thought in the first half hour of that game, the intent was really poor". When you are 1-0 down you can always have the possibility to score.

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"There is no part of me that can watch this and think this is right".

But Conte hit back by insisting it would be reckless to play openly against City and cited Arsenal's back-to-back 3-0 hammerings to the runaway Premier League leaders only days before as examples of why he approached the game cautiously.

Chelsea did not manage a single shot in the first half and fell behind to Bernardo Silva's effort just 33 seconds after the restart, but Conte did not feel his approach was the reason for their struggles. I was looking forward to watching this game today. They are better than that. "They have great intensity in every moment of the game", Conte said.

Silva has assisted 73 Premier League goals since his debut in August 2010, 20 more than any other player in that time.

The Portugal midfielder backed up his goal in the 3-0 win over Arsenal on Thursday with the victor against Chelsea.

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Chelsea were without N'Golo Kante due to illness and the France international's absence played a big role in the defeat, according to Conte. "The quality. To have the distance between many teams now".

"It's not simple in this moment to play against Manchester City".

Yet the Belgian was anonymous throughout and cut a frustrated figure as he failed to have any impact, with Conte waiting until the 78th minute to bring on a striker in Olivier Giroud, and then delaying Morata's arrival until the final minute.

City dominated from the outset but Bernardo Silva scored the only goal of the match as they opened up an 18-point lead at the Premier League summit to move four wins away from the title.

Arsenal's eighth loss since the turn of the year left their hopes of a top-four finish in tatters, with Wenger admitting it was "already gone" even before the Gunners were left 13 points adrift of the leading quartet. In terms of results and the way we play, so far we are so good.

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Chelsea still refused to offer up any sign of ambition and even when they did attacks fizzled out tamely, with some ironic cheers from the visiting fans when they won a corner late on and also when Alonso's timid shot drifted wide in stoppage time. "It was not enough but City deserved to win".

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