WOR­RY­ING SIGN FOR CONTE

Man­ager ad­mits red cards could prompt Chelsea re-think

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CHELSEA man­ager An­to­nio Conte has ac­cepted he may have to em­bed a new for­ma­tion in his team if they con­tinue to have play­ers sent off.

Af­ter be­ing re­duced to 10 men in both the FA Cup fi­nal and the Com­mu­nity Shield, Conte’s men fin­ished the open­ing game of their Premier League ti­tle de­fence with just nine play­ers af­ter Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabre­gas were both dis­missed in a pul­sat­ing 3-2 de­feat by Burn­ley at Stamford Bridge on Satur­day.

It left the Ital­ian man­ager con­cerned by the in­abil­ity of his play­ers to con­trol their emo­tions when a team­mate was dis­missed.

“I saw two faces of my team to­day,” Conte said af­ter a match where Chelsea were 3-0 down be­fore half-time.

“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.”

He 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 post-match analysis was no doubt in­spired by the fe­roc­ity of Chelsea’s sec­ond­half 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 Chelsea boss was 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 man­ager Sean Dy­che knows that win­ning away to the cham­pi­ons on the open­ing day is only a small step in the north­west side’s bid to yet again re­tain their Premier League sta­tus.

Dy­che saw Sam Vokes score twice and left-back Stephen Ward con­nect with a stun­ning vol­ley as his side won away in the top flight at the first time of ask­ing – last sea­son their only away league 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.” AFP

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