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Monday 17 December 2018

Antonio Conte not worried about losing Chelsea job despite Watford thrashing

Heavy defeat comes after the Blues were beaten 3-0 at home to Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte

By Tom Allnutt, Press Association Sport

Antonio Conte admitted Chelsea played with fear in their 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Watford but insists he is not worried about being sacked.

Watford’s emphatic win cranked up the pressure on Conte, who only last weekend challenged the Chelsea board to give him a public show of support.

But Conte’s players did little to strengthen his position as Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off after 30 minutes at Vicarage Road, before Watford ran riot, scoring three times in a frantic final six minutes.

The heavy defeat comes after Chelsea were beaten 3-0 at home to Bournemouth on Wednesday and means they have now managed only two wins from their last 10 games in all competitions.

Conte, however, remained defiant: “I hope that, tonight, for once you understand me. I’m not worried. I’m not worried about my job.

“I work every day, and I give 120 per cent. Okay? If this is enough, it’s okay. Otherwise, the club can take a different decision. But I’m not worried.

“It’s very difficult because, every day and every press conference, you ask me if I’m worried. No. I’m not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach or not.

“Where is the problem? My soul is clear. I go to sleep without a problem that maybe, maybe, I could do this or that. I try to do everything. If it’s not good, the club can make a different decision. Life goes on.”

Asked if he believes he still has the support of Chelsea’s players, Conte said: “But do you think that a club can decide to sack a coach if there is not the support of the players?

“I think only here, only here, you think this. You think that the players have this power? Yes? This is wrong. This is wrong.

“If this happens, okay. But, I repeat, in my life when I was a player, I was captain of Juventus and never, ever, did I speak about a coach with my club. And, if the club tried to ask me, [I said] ‘this is not my problem’.”

Eden Hazard looked to have rescued Chelsea a point with a 25-yard strike in the 82nd minute but two brilliant goals from Daryl Janmaat and Gerard Deulofeu put Watford out of sight.

Roberto Pereyra added a fourth in added time.

Earlier, Bakayoko had been dismissed for picking up two yellow cards and Troy Deeney’s penalty put the hosts ahead after the excellent Deulofeu was felled by Thibaut Courtois.

“I have great disappointment, for sure. Our performance was very poor tonight,” Conte said.

“We started very badly and without personality. We played with fear. I think so. We are not used to playing this type of football.

“We can lose, but always we have to try to play football and to try to be positive.”

Conte added: “It’s right, everyone must take responsibility: me, the players.”

While Chelsea stay fourth, just one point ahead of Tottenham, Watford sit 11th, six points clear of the bottom three.

It was also a first victory for Javi Gracia as Watford head coach, after he replaced Marco Silva two weeks ago.

“An unforgettable night,” Gracia said. “A great match, a great victory. We’ll try to do the same next time.

“I think it’s important not only for three points, but for the motivation, to believe in our possibilities and our work.”

Press Association

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