Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has claimed last season's emphatic title win was actually 'a miracle', as he moves to deflect from his team's rocky start to the new campaign.
The Italian hasn't had things quite so easy in 2017/18, and the Blues lie fourth in the Premier League table after 10 games and second in their Champions League group after a dreadful defensive performance against Roma on Tuesday.
They are a far-cry away from last season, and Conte has kicked up a fuss about his side's lack of strength in depth. He has now insisted that he deserves patience after last season's 'miracle' title win.
He said, as quoted by Sky Sports: "I have to stay with my fingers crossed. Honestly, I think I earned my time here with the win of last season. I don't like to ask for time, I like to tell the truth. The situation is very clear - my task is to work and to put all myself for this club.
"Then, if it's enough? OK. If it's not enough? OK. The same. I will continue to live. If we think I click my fingers and we are ready to fight, it's not simple. Last season happened. A miracle. It was a miracle, because we had the same players that the season before finished 10th."
Conte may feel as though he has earned his time at Stamford Bridge after tremendous initial success, but he will need to turn things around to avoid the same fate as fellow title winners Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, who were all fired soon after their respective league successes.
The reigning champions face Manchester United in Sunday's highly-anticipated clash at Stamford Bridge.