Conte to Stay as Chelsea Manager Despite Defeat at Watford


Antonio Conte will not be sacked as Chelsea manager in the wake of Monday night’s 4-1 defeat at Watford.
His position was not discussed after the match, since when he has given his players three days off.

Sources at Stamford Bridge point to the fact Chelsea remain in the top four, and are still in the Champions League and FA Cup, as reason not to make a change at the present time.
Chelsea Captain Gary Cahill has also backed the Italian.

He said players needed to “look in the mirror” following the defeat at Vicarage Road.
After the Blues’ second straight three-goal defeat, Conte said “the club have to take another decision” if they think he is not doing a good enough job.

The defending champions are now fourth in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Manchester City.
“Whatever is decided, the players have to take responsibility,” Cahill said.
“The manager has done an absolutely unbelievable job.”

Although Chelsea is understandably disappointed at a run of just two wins in 10 games during 2018 so far, and in particular suffering successive three-goal defeats in the Premier League for the first time since 1995, it will not cost Conte his job.

The Blues Chelsea entertain West Brom in the Premier League next Monday and Championship side Hull City in the FA Cup fifth round on 16 February before a run of games that includes two European ties against Barcelona, a trip to Manchester United and a visit to league leaders Manchester City.

Conte guided Chelsea to the league title in his debut season but his future has repeatedly been questioned since losing to Burnley on the opening day of the current campaign.
Defender Cahill, who has won the league twice in six years with the Blues, said Monday’s defeat was the club’s “lowest point of the season”.

“This is the worst I’ve felt for quite a while,” he told BBC Sport. “Performance-wise, I didn’t recognise us or myself. It was abysmal.
“We just need to keep strong. I’ve been here before at this club – it’s about staying calm. It hurts a lot when you come off after a performance like that.”
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also gave support to the Italian boss, who has 18 months remaining on his contract.

“We believe in him and we believe in our team,” he told the club website. “We have two bad results and we just try to get back, regroup and continue.
“We showed that we wanted to fight, even with 10 men, and that shows we have character, but when you lose twice like that it is not good and there are questions raised.”

When asked about his position at the club, Conte told BBC Radio 5 live: “It is the same. I stay here, try to work and put all of myself into the work. The pressure? Which pressure? What is the pressure?”