Downbeat Antonio Conte speaks of challenge this season - "We never started the race"

Antonio Conte speaking after defeat to West Ham, Chelsea's fourth of the season so far has given his opinion of our title challenge t...

Antonio Conte speaking after defeat to West Ham, Chelsea's fourth of the season so far has given his opinion of our title challenge this season and admits that it hasn't got going. 

It's a massive statement to make considering what happened two seasons ago with our disastrous title defence under Jose Mourinho. We are nowhere near the same situation under Conte with our recent run ahead of the defeat to West Ham a good one. However, four defeats in the first sixteen games is tough for anyone to consider themselves in with a chance of winning the league. Now that Manchester City have beaten Manchester United, it's done and dusted as far as I like many of the Chelsea fans are concerned.

Speaking after the game, Antonio Conte said:

“This is the fourth defeat this season in 16 games.

When you have this stat, it’s impossible to think you’re in the title race. It’s impossible, my experience tells this. You can lose once or twice [at this stage of the season].

We never started the race.

To lose the first game against Burnley, against Crystal Palace, to lose again against West Ham… you can’t lose points in these games. It means you are not in title race.

We try to do our best. [At the start of the season] I said it well be very tough, very difficult." - Source: The Sun.

So what has gone wrong so far this season? What is the reason why we have lost these games compared to last season? Is it the changes to our personnel? Is it the change of tactical formation? Is it team selection in certain games or is it down to individual performances in those defeats that is the difference this year?

To be honest, I cannot put my finger on it and I would find it hard for any other Chelsea fan to do the same. The defeat on the opening day of the season was what appeared to be just one of those days. Gary Cahill's exuberance in the tackle leads to a straight red card and lazy defending gifting Burnley a well deserved win.

Defeat at home against Manchester City was hard to take just days after our heroic performance away to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Chelsea on that day, like a few others this season so far, failed to turn up for this one. We sat back and allowed City to dominate us for the most part and it cost us the three points. Pep Guardiola's side now have the record 14 wins in-a-row but that could/should have been avoided with a far better performance that what Chelsea delivered.

The defeat away to Crystal Palace after the international break in our next Premier League game was unthinkable at the time. Chelsea, not for the first time, failed to move the ball quick enough, lacked ideas in the final third and were made to pay for it. Also, it wasn't the first time the manager made mistakes with his substitutions in games.

Defeat to West Ham on Saturday pretty much follows in the same way to the others. We made mistakes with team selection, we made defensive errors, we were not quick enough in possession of the ball and had a real lack of ideas as how to break the West Ham side down.

In my view we cannot compare this season to last by saying that if we still had Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic we would be in a better position. No-one knows how things would have panned out. Lets also point out that BOTH players wanted to leave, expressed a desire to leave and made it clear that Chelsea is NOT where they wanted to be.

I am really at a loss as to try and pinpoint exactly where things have not worked out for us in certain games this year. In my view, on occasions it has been team selections coupled with tactical formations (such as West Ham) and others it has been the players themselves not turning up, not playing quick enough to hurt teams just as we know we can.

What do you think the reason(s) are?

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