Antonio Conte fears a lack of goals could cost Blues Champions League spot


Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte believes that Chelsea's lack of goals could cost the Blues Champions League qualification this season.

The Blues currently sit in fifth place, but even if they manage to secure victories in their last three league fixtures, Conte's side could miss out on goal difference.

Speaking to the Official Chelsea website, Conte said "Football is very simple, if you want to win you have to score, and in this season our first problem was that we were not so clinical.

"For sure there are other situations we need to improve, but if you want to win you need to score and I think this season we have dropped many points. I remember, for example, our most recent game against West Ham, we dropped two points of vital importance for us. We were winning the game and we created a lot of chances to score but we kept the result at only 1-0, and at the end they scored and drew."

Chelsea have dropped 10 points from winning positions this season, the most of any club in the top 6 and it is clear to see that Conte's men are not scoring enough to kill off games and take all three points. This is clear as a dominant first half display against West Ham should have put the game to bed before the interval but the Hammers left Stamford Bridge with a point courtesy of a Javier Hernandez goal at the beginning of the month.

Last season the Blues scored 108 goals in all competitions, 85 of which came in the Premier League and saw Conte lift the title in his first season in charge. Compare that to this season where we have only seen 58 Premier League goals with 3 matches remaining.

A key factor was the summer departure of top scorer Diego Costa, who picked up 21 goals on route to becoming champions. Costa's ability to pick the team up when they were struggling for goals carried the Blues over the finish line. His replacement Alvaro Morata has struggled for both form and fitness this season leading the Chelsea faithful to question the decision to let him leave.

Without a settled striker in the starting line-up, Eden Hazard is the top scorer for the Blues this season with 12 goals in the Premier League but another goalless performance at the weekend marked 6 matches without a goal for the Belgian.

Chelsea do not have a settled striker since the arrival of Olivier Giroud but both the Frenchman and his Spanish team-mate Morata found the back of the net against Southampton at Wembley.

Conte believes there are some positives to look at though: "We must be happy, also, because we kept a clean sheet for the second time in a row. These were positive things, but we have to try to continue until the end and do our best, and then at the end of the season we'll see what has happened."

Chelsea's defence has been less than impressive this season. David Luiz has missed the majority of the season with a persistent knee injury whilst Andreas Christensen has been in and out of the team due to bad form but it is not just the curly-haired Brazilian's defensive work that has been missed.

Playing in the centre of a back three, David Luiz was not only responsible for keeping goals out but also for contributing at the other end of the pitch by starting attacks. Luiz' success last season came from having the freedom to carry the ball into midfield and start attacks, something that has been lacking this season.

Conte may have been pleased with his team's performance in Wales at the weekend but could their inability to kill games off have cost Chelsea a place in the Champions League next season?