Conference Call: We played with fear

Antonio Conte felt his team lacked their usual confidence tonight and said he and the players must take responsibility for the poor performance at Watford.

The boss admitted little went right from the very beginning at Vicarage Road. The first-half red card shown to Tiemoue Bakayoko made things harder and even though we responded well after the break, Conte was left frustrated we weren’t able to keep the scores level for longer after Eden Hazard’s equaliser. This was his assessment of a bad night…

‘I have great disappointment,’ Conte said.

‘Our performance was very poor. We started very badly, without personality. We played with fear.

‘We are not used to playing this type of football. We can lose, but always try to play football and try to be positive. Instead we started very badly. Then the double yellow card didn’t change things, but the situation became serious. Then there was the penalty, and when you go 1-0 down with 10 men it’s very difficult to come back.

‘In the second half I saw great will and great desire, but I saw a lot of confusion. We were able to equalise, and in that moment we had to do better to manage the situation and understand the moment. A great team must do this. Instead in 10 minutes we conceded three goals. In this case, it’s right for everyone to take responsibility, me and the players.’

Conte considered the importance of playing with personality

‘To play football for a great club, it means you must have personality. It’s simple to play when you have confidence. In this type of moment, you can see who plays with personality and risks something. In this moment you have to show you have personality.

‘We have to try to work, but sometimes work is not enough to change the situation. I will try to continue to work, and to improve different aspects of my players, but our performance was very poor and for sure I have to take responsibility, because maybe I made the wrong decision for the starting XI.’

Conte was asked about his own future in the wake of the defeat

‘I’m not worried about my job. I work every day and I give 120 per cent. If this is enough, it’s okay. Otherwise the club can take a different decision. Every press conference I am asked if I’m worried. I’m not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach, or not. What’s the problem? My soul is clear.’

Conte stressed he continues to see his squad giving their all

‘Do you think a club can decide to sack a coach if there is not the support of the players? Only here you think this. You think the players have this power? This is wrong.

‘When I was a player, I was captain of Juventus, I never, never spoke about a coach with my club. And if the club asked me, this is not my problem.

‘I repeat: my task is to work with these players. I have honest players who show me every day great commitment and great behaviour. The question is for you to find something wrong or create a problem with the club, and then the players. I do my job; I do my work. If this is enough, it’s okay, otherwise I go home and I have zero problem to sleep well.'

Conte reflected on what needs to be done now

‘For sure this is a difficult moment. If we want to find excuses, we can find everything: tiredness, injuries, but this is not my way to face the situation and solve the problem.

‘The problem you have to solve through work. The winner finds a solution; the loser finds an excuse. In my life I like to be a winner, and I am a winner.’