Wednesday 16 January 2019

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte hits back at 'stupid' Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Photo: REUTERS
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Photo: REUTERS

Antonio Conte branded Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville "stupid" after the pundits condemned Chelsea's performance against Manchester City.

Redknapp claimed Chelsea's approach was "anti-football" and a "crime against football" on Sky Sports while his colleague Neville said Conte's players were "woeful" and "embarrassing" after accusing them of "just watching Man City play - like mannequins".

But Conte hit back by insisting it would be reckless to play openly against City and cited Arsenal's back-to-back 3-0 hammerings as examples of why he approached the game cautiously.

"I think in this moment you have to accept every criticism but I am not so stupid to play against Manchester City open and to lose 3-0 or 4-0," the Chelsea manager said.

"If I remember well, a few days ago, Arsenal played twice against them and then you criticise a lot [Arsene] Wenger because they conceded three goals in only 30 minutes.

"I think the pundit has to use their heads to understand when you speak about tactics because I think you must have knowledge to speak about tactics and not only to speak in a stupid way."

The defeat was Chelsea's fourth in their past five league outings, but while Conte said his side had reason for regret in the losses to Bournemouth, Watford and Manchester United, he said City were simply "unstoppable".

"I think they showed the difference between them and us in this moment - 25 points is a big gap and I think that we can have regret for the other games but not for this because I think the effort of the players was an important effort. When you play against Manchester City, this kind of team, they are showing fantastic quality but at the same time a fantastic mentality. When you match quality and mentality you become unstoppable."

Conte said his players had followed his instructions and that he tried to change things but that Bernardo Silva's goal 35 seconds into the second half left them facing a huge task.

"We prepared the game in this way - don't concede space between the lines," Conte said. "When you play against City you have to use your brain, otherwise you risk to finish the game in a bad way and to lose 3-0 or 4-0." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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