Antonio Conte Says Fatigue, not Tactics Behind Chelsea Struggles


Perhaps his long, drawn out feud with Jose Mourinho is getting to Antonio Conte. Maybe beefing with the Manchester United manager is draining the Blues boss. Perhaps his Chelsea side still hasn’t recovered from the festive period workload and hasn’t had  sufficient rest time.

They’re certainly not themselves right now as they drew 0-0 with Leicester City today, making it three consecutive goalless draws now for Chelsea. They have now gone 276 minutes without scoring, and Antonio Conte has come under fire for playing a more ultra-conservative 3-5-2 formation lately, instead of the 3-4-3 that enabled the Blues to run away with the Premier League title last season.

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As soon as Conte made the switch to the 3-4-3 in September 2016, the Blues took off and never looked back. Conte maintains that the team struggles right now are not about tactics, but fatigue instead.

“The first thing I have to find is the right balance. At the same time, against Norwich we played 3-4-3 with Pedro, Willian and Batshuayi, but we didn’t score,” Conte said.

“It was the same. This is not a problem with the system. In both systems we are conceding less but, with both systems, we are scoring less than last season. We have to try to improve on this aspect. The situation is very clear.”

Antonio Conte said the back-to-back battles against arch-rivals Arsenal, and the quick turnaround time in between fixtures took a toll on his team.

“I think honestly, not to find excuses or alibis, today we paid a lot for the effort from Arsenal. To play Wednesday night and then today against a really good team, a team in really good physical form like Leicester, after only two and a half days,” he continued.

antonio conte

“We played with almost the same players as against Arsenal. My plan was to play with one team in the FA Cup, and then these two games with almost the same players. But I think, today, I saw a lot of players very tired. We suffered a lot in the first half and at the start of the second half.

“Then when I decided to put fresh energy on, the game changed. We tried to create chances, to score, and we are not suffering defensively. We tried to win the game. But at the end I think the result was fair.”

Asked if he took Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard off so early, due to fatigue, Conte responded: “Yes. I saw them very, very tired.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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