Antonio Conte sends honest message to Chelsea FC fans about Ross Barkley

Premier League is too good for old ideas

Manchester United legend Gary Neville branded Antonio Conte's Chelsea "woeful" and "unacceptable" for defeat at Manchester City.

"Last year we spoke so much about what Antonio Conte did for this league, the job he did and the way he changed the system".

Chelsea had all to fight for today.

"When you play a strong team, an important team, for us it is very hard to keep the same balance of last season, with Hazard in the position of number ten".

"I was critical of Newcastle before Christmas because I thought in the first half hour of that game, the intent was really poor".

Olivier Giroud is adamant Chelsea are not experiencing a crisis after falling to their fourth defeat in five Premier League matches on Sunday.

"We played United and City away".

Bernardo Silva scored the only goal as City took another stride towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over their lacklustre opponents.

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

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.

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. I was looking forward to watching this game today. 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. They are better than that. Who could believe it? "They have great intensity in every moment of the game", Conte said. "To have the distance, 25 to Chelsea, 33 to Arsenal, (20) to Tottenham is a lot".

"It's not simple to play against Man City".

Apart from starting Danny Drinkwater instead of N'Golo Kante, who was ill, Chelsea's team on Sunday was the same one that drew with Barcelona at the end of February, and again they let the opposition dominate possession. "When the team struggles for confidence it's even more hard". Alonso had a try on the City post but he shot wide as City concluded a very good week.

There were further questions raised over why Conte, with his side falling 1-0 down in the 46th minute, only brought Giroud on with 12 minutes left and Morata in the 90th minute. Meanwhile, Chelsea cut adrift of the top 4 after the loss.

Even Wigan, who had to defend for their lives for the majority of their shock FA Cup fifth-round win last month, tested City defensively before winning 1-0. "It was not enough but City deserved to win". These are not small games.

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