Antonio Conte has surprisingly conceded defeat in the race for the Premier League title after Chelsea’s shock defeat to West Ham on Saturday.
The Blues looked a shadow of their usual self and were unable to break down a stubborn Hammers side who went ahead inside 10 minutes through Marko Arnautovic.
The 1-0 loss leaves Chelsea still 11 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and Conte now believes the margin is too big to claw back.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, he said: ‘We have to consider that this is the fourth game that we have lost after 16 games.
‘When you lose four games, in my previous experience, it tells me that it’s impossible to stay and fight for the title.
‘In 16 games, to lose four games, it means the target must be another.’
In his press conference, he echoed that sentiment again: ‘To talk about the title race after a defeat is a bit strange, especially if this is the fourth defeat in 16 games.
‘When you have this start it’s impossible to think you’re in the title race.
My experience tells me this.
‘When you lose against Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Ham when they are in a bad position. If you lose points in these games, you are not in the title race.’
He was even more explicit in his interview with BeINSPORTS, saying his side’s title bid was over and then adding: ‘It never started.’
Chelsea currently sit in third place in the table, though could be overtaken by Liverpool on Sunday, while Manchester City would move 14 points clear of the Blues if they win at Old Trafford.