Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has claimed that his side's hopes of retaining their Premier League title are over, after they slumped to a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United. Marko Arnautović's sixth minute goal gave the Hammers the win, as the Blues failed to turn their dominance into goalscoring opportunities.
Speaking after the shock defeat, via the Evening Standard, Conte faced questions over whether his side were out of the title race, and offered a bleak analysis of their hopes of retaining their Premier League crown. Conte said:
"To talk about the title race after a defeat is a bit strange, especially this is the fourth defeat this season in 16 games.
"When you have this stat, it's impossible to think you're in the title race. It's impossible - my experience tells me this. You can lose (only) once or twice. After 16 games, if you lose four games your title race never started.
"We started with a defeat in our home game against Burnley. We lost another game. We have a lot of reason to justify our loss to Manchester City."
Conte attributed his side's lacklustre performance to their midweek Champions League exertions against Atlético Madrid, claiming:
"Many players were tired. We started our pre-season with our players. Our ideas were not so clear (against West Ham). We made a lot of mistakes. We created chances to score but we didn't take them. When you shoot 19 times in a game, it means you attacked but we can do better."
Chelsea will face a tricky trip to Huddersfield Town in midweek, and will be mindful that the Terriers defeated Manchester United at the John Smith's Stadium earlier in the season.
With the December fixture list piling up, Conte will be desperate to keep his best players fit over the festive season.