LNTUP

Antonio Conte Sounded Very Sad After Shock Defeat Against Palace

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Antonio Conte lamented the lack of “personality” in Chelsea’s performance after they slipped nine points behind Manchester City with a 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace.

An own goal from Cesar Azpilicueta and Wilfried Zaha’s second-half strike condemned Chelsea to their third Premier League loss of the season at Selhurst Park, as Palace registered their first goals and points of the campaign.

Chelsea were lacklustre in the absence of the injured Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante, and Conte admitted that the Premier League champions had struggled to find “balance” without two of their key players.

“I think that today was a difficult game for us,” Conte said. “When you play against Palace away you need more personality, otherwise you allow your opponent to take confidence.

“We conceded, came back but then we conceded another. It was a bad game for us.

“To lose a player like Kante is not simple. He is able to cover a lot of the pitch. I have to think and find a different solution. The balance is important if you want to win. For sure today our balance was poor.”

Chelsea’s defeat was compounded by another injury as Victor Moses left the pitch after just 40 minutes with a suspected hamstring problem, but Conte insisted his team cannot hide behind their injury problems.

“This moment is very difficult for us,” he admitted. “When you start the game without Morata and Kante it is not simple. Then another important player gets an injury like Moses. I hope to have him [back] very soon.

“In this moment it is very difficult. We lose three or four players and it is a big problem, but despite this we have to find the will to fight.

“This season is very difficult. We have to put in 150 percent — 100 percent is not enough like last season, and we want to be competitive in every competition.

“The situation is very clear, but my focus is to work with my players. In this moment it’s important to find a solution, not to find an excuse. I want to find the best way to work, to put all of myself in the job with my players.”