Conte con­cern at Blues’ bad habits

Red cards help con­sign cham­pion to shock de­feat in league opener

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Chelsea man­ager An­to­nio Conte has ac­cepted he may have to em­bed a new for­ma­tion in his team if it con­tin­ues to have play­ers sent off.

Af­ter be­ing re­duced to 10 men in de­feats to Ar­se­nal in May’s FA Cup fi­nal and this month’s Com­mu­nity Shield, Chelsea ended the open­ing game of its Premier League de­fense with nine play­ers as Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabre­gas were dis­missed in a shock 3-2 loss to Burn­ley at Stamford Bridge on Satur­day.

It left Conte con­cerned by the in­abil­ity of his play­ers to con­trol their emo­tions.

“I saw two faces of my team to­day,” Conte said af­ter a match in which the Blues were 3-0 down be­fore half­time.

“One pos­i­tive in the sec­ond half, one neg­a­tive in the first half. We lost our com­po­sure af­ter the first red card and we con­ceded the three goals.

“We have to im­prove a lot on this as­pect be­cause this type of sit­u­a­tion can hap­pen.”

The Ital­ian added: “We have to think that there is the rest of the game to play and do our best. We must also have the right ex­pe­ri­ence to face this type of sit­u­a­tion.

“I have to start to study a new for­ma­tion with 10 play­ers be­cause this ir­reg­u­lar­ity is wor­ry­ing.”

Conte’s san­guine post­match analysis was no doubt in­spired by the fe­roc­ity of Chelsea’s sec­ond-half come­back, first with 10 men af­ter Cahill’s 14th-minute dis­missal for a lunge on Steven De­four and then nine af­ter Fabre­gas col­lected a sec­ond yel­low card.

The Lon­don­ers were also with­out the in­jured trio of Pe­dro, Eden Hazard and re­cent ar­rival Tiemoue Bakayoko, al­though new striker Al­varo Mo­rata im­pressed as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute, scor­ing one goal and set­ting up an­other for David Luiz.

“We tried to at­tack in the right way in the sec­ond half,” Conte ex­plained. “We didn’t lose our bal­ance and I have to be proud about the great com­mit­ment, the great de­sire, the great will of my play­ers even though it was very dif­fi­cult to change the re­sult in the sec­ond half.

“I am not wor­ried be­cause we have to trust in our work. To­day we had three in­jured play­ers miss­ing and one miss­ing for a ban.

“For sure we’ll have two play­ers out — Cahill and Fabre­gas — from a ban in the next game but we’ll find the right so­lu­tion.

“Al­varo is work­ing very hard to find his good fit­ness as soon as pos­si­ble and to adapt very quickly to our style of foot­ball.

“But for sure he played very well in the last 30 min­utes, which is good news for us.”

Mean­while, Burn­ley boss Sean Dy­che knows that win­ning away to the cham­pion on the open­ing week­end is only a small step in his side’s bid to re­tain its top-flight sta­tus for the sec­ond sea­son in a row.

Dy­che saw Sam Vokes score twice and left­back Stephen Ward con­nect with a stun­ning vol­ley as his side won away in the Premier League at the first time of ask­ing — last sea­son its only away win came at Crys­tal Palace in April.

“This re­sult kills off the away-win story for this sea­son but we’re not get­ting car­ried away,” said Dy­che.

“It’s a great win for us, bril­liant for our play­ers, bril­liant for our sup­port­ers but we know there’s a big sea­son right in front of us, the ‘sec­ond sea­son’ that ev­ery­one’s telling us about.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult at this club to make mas­sive strides,” the English­man added. “This win won’t do us any harm at all but it won’t make our sea­son.

“There are a lot of big games com­ing so it’s im­por­tant that we re­mind our­selves of that.”

Dy­che, whose only pre­vi­ous man­age­rial job was at Wat­ford, added: “We still gave away pos­ses­sion too eas­ily in the sec­ond half.

“Chelsea are a top-class side and it is tough to come here and dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion, even when they have 10 men, but we were too flip­pant with the ball and we gave it away too cheaply. That is some­thing we’ve got to work on.”


Sam Vokes heads home Burn­ley's third goal against Chelsea dur­ing their Premier League opener at Stamford Bridge in Lon­don on Satur­day. The Clarets went on to de­feat An­to­nio Conte’s de­fend­ing cham­pion 3-2.

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