'We must be worried' - Antonio Conte has another dig at Chelsea owners after Bournemouth hammering
A downbeat Anotino Conte may have put his future as the club's manager on the line after more comments hinting he is not being given the backing he needs financially after his side's 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth.
Olivier Giroud may have been a high profile arrival from Arsenal for Chelsea on transfer deadline day, but Conte was in no mood to toast his transfer market success as he appeared to be in a dark mood as he spoke to the media.
Chelsea's hierarchy are reported to be frustrated by Conte's constant snipes at the club's lack of transfer spending and it will be fascinating to see how they react to these latest comments.
When asked if he was over-achieving with his current squad, Conte was quick to suggest he could do no more and he argued a top four finish in the Premier League could be a success for last season's champions.
"I think we are doing more (over-achieving). We are doing more, yes," he said. "We must be worried. We must be worried. It won't be easy. But this is normal. I'm maybe repeating myself from the start of the season.
"It won't be easy this season, and we have to fight. We must be prepared to fight and ready to do this. I'm ready. I think the players are starting to understand that this season we have to struggle for a position in the Champions League.
"But I think the players, until now, are great. Are very, very top. For their commitment and their behaviours. If they hadn't done that, our place in the table would be worse.
"If we want to speak about football and if we think to understand football we know very well this will be very difficult for us. If we want only to dream and not see the reality – in this case, I can tell you now we can fight to win the title this season.
"It will be very important to look at the reality and to know that, if we are able to reach a place in the Champions League, it will be a great success for us. Otherwise we have a normal season."
When asked whether Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich accepted Conte was doing the best his could with the current Blues squad he offered these comments"
"I don't know," he added. "My task is to try to be more realistic if possible and try to transfer this to the players, because the players if they know and understand the danger. But the players are fantastic in their commitment. They understand very well what our situation is in this season.”
Conte's latest criticism of his transfer kitty sparked inevitable specualtion over his future at the club after several months of similar comments that may not be popular with Abramovich.
"I don't think he will see out the season at Chelsea, no chance," declared Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson as he watched Conte's press conference. "It has felt like he is close to walking out all season and knowing how the owner works there, he won't stand for those comment criticising the club."