Guardiola: Win Vs Chelsea So Important, It's In Our Hands Now

Antonio Conte passed on questions about Chelsea's ambitions in the future after admitting a top-four place is their current priority

It was a disappointing day for Chelsea and manager Antonio Conte - and of even greater concern is that they are now five points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place in the race for spots in next season's Champions League.

It must have been embarrassing for Roman Abramovich and all the other Chelsea power holders that their team was so defensive away to Manchester City on Sunday.

Instead, we opted to sit off and invite pressure, which Man City were not in any hurry to provide.

The last thing you want to happen against City is to allow them to come through you down the middle, but Chelsea did not try to compete in that area of the pitch and made it very easy for Pep Guardiola's side.

"I think in this moment you have to accept every criticism but I am not so stupid to play against Manchester City open and to lose 3-0 or 4-0", the Chelsea manager said.

"We played against a team with fantastic quality".

"Do you think this?"

The German midfielder played 167 successful passes, 10 more than Yaya.

Chelsea were also playing with five at the back, against three City attackers.




As City pressed, matchwinner Silva had an effort on goal in the 20th minute, after a Sane run, but this time to no avail.

It was all a far cry from the Chelsea side that showed such ambition and drive to turn a half-time deficit around to win here en route to becoming Premier League champions last season.

"It's not good enough [the lack of shots on target] but this is the truth".

In following up their defeats to Arsenal, Watford and Manchester United with another loss at the Etihad Stadium, Chelsea have now lost four consecutive away games for the first time since 2003.

Conte must have told his players to continue in the same first half fashion, but City ensured that was not the case as Bernardo Silva registered the first goal after just 35 seconds after the restart.

Why do that when you can give the ball to Thibaut Courtois and he can clear it and try to give City a problem higher up the pitch, especially when you have got a player like Olivier Giroud to come off the bench?

Asked about the late subs, Conte said: "I tried to do something with the substitutions". My tactics were to not concede space between the lines, if you do that you risk losing by many goals. Well, I am sure they will play the same way against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on 14 March, but they can not be like headless chickens there. "When the team struggles for confidence it's even more hard".

Conte fielded a front three of Pedro Rodriguez and Willian behind lone striker Eden Hazard, but the trio barely saw the ball.

"It is not a good weekend for us because our opponents won but we still have nine games to go". They kept possession and kept us at bay, ticking down the clock until the game cantered to a tiresome climax.

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