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Antonio Conte hits back at Chelsea critics

06 March 2018

Chelsea's tactics in their defeat against Manchester City were bad to watch, and it is hard to understand why Antonio Conte did not try to change things around.

"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".

Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville lambasted Conte for Chelsea's approach.

"Against a strong team like Chelsea, who are still the champions, and beat them in the way we did today, that is why it is so good".

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

"Nine of them [Chelsea players] have won Premier League titles, Manchester had two".

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"Today they showed the difference between them and us in this moment", said Conte. "I think if you ask the players, the players neither".

"When you match quality and mentality I think that you become unstoppable". It just is not right.

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

For most of the game, if any of their players had any possession in the City half they were on their own and it was hard for them to keep hold of it.

The Premier League title holders, who played without a recognised striker for 78 minutes, ceded 71 per cent of possession to the champions elect and failed to register a single shot on target as they suffered defeat, thanks to Bernardo Silva's goal early in the second half.

In driving rain, and with Chelsea mysteriously refusing to take off the handbrake, they were able to close out a victory that will, in its own way, have brought as much pleasure to Guardiola as numerous more spectacular wins this season. 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. "Who could believe?" he said. You have to play with great intensity in every moment. "To have the distance, 25 to Chelsea, 33 to Arsenal, (20) to Tottenham is a lot".

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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.

Bernardo Silva's goal lifts Man City over Chelsea, keeping City unbeaten this season at the Etihad.

It was the Portugal winger's second goal in as many games and he is impressing now he has nailed a place in the starting team following injuries to Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in recent months. Alonso had a try on the City post but he shot wide as City concluded a very good week.

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.

Chelsea seemed to always be going backwards and, when they did get the ball, they could not go forward because there was no-one up there to pass to.

"In all the aspects, we were better", Guardiola said.

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Antonio Conte hits back at Chelsea critics