A season which has provided Chelsea supporters with so much joy concluded in a disappointing manner as we were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in the FA Cup final, despite having shown fantastic character to get back in the game following the sending off of Victor Moses.
The Blues had fallen behind to a highly controversial Alexis Sanchez goal inside the opening four minutes when the Chilean fired home having handled the ball in the build-up and with Aaron Ramsey seemingly in an offside position and interfering with play.
The dismissal of Moses, who was shown a second yellow card for simulation, didn’t help our cause, but 14 minutes from time the 10 men equalised through a brilliant Diego Costa strike. Arsenal’s response, however, was almost immediate as Ramsey arrived in the box to head home the decisive goal.
‘Our start wasn’t good enough, Arsenal started the game better than us,’ said Conte. ‘Honestly, I think the first goal should have been disallowed because there was a clear handball, but our start wasn’t good for the first 20-25 minutes. Then, after that we started to play. In the second half we started very well and created chances to equalise. The second yellow card for Moses was one of the key moments but despite the situation we were able to equalise. Then we conceded after 30 seconds or something and that was the key moment for our loss. We created another chance through Diego and Ospina made a fantastic save.’
Conte was asked about the decision to show Moses a second yellow card.
‘For me now it’s very difficult to tell because I saw contact with Moses and their player but I don’t know if it was a penalty or not. It was one of the key moments.’
The Italian explained why he introduced Cesc Fabregas for Nemanja Matic
‘I put Cesc on after 60 minutes because we wanted to try to have more quality in our passes and make vertical passes. Matic played a really good game but if you see our past, sometimes I’ve made this change when we have been losing or drawing.’
Conte said our season will still be classed as a success after we won the Premier League title
‘Now the most important thing is to give a correct evaluation of our season because for me it was incredible. Every single player performed at 120 or 130 per cent in every game. We didn’t have many injuries. It’s very important to understand this. Our season was incredible because every player worked very hard and next season for sure we must pay great attention to understand we have to improve in terms of numbers and quality. That’s very important and we must be very cold when we analyse the situation and understand this season we did something great.
‘This season has been a great one for us, to win the league with 30 victories, and reach the final of the FA Cup is incredible. My players must keep in their mind our fantastic season and also this final, because you have to reach this point to play the final. We must be proud.’
The players wore black armbands to mark the tragic events in Manchester this week, having at half-time rectified an earlier mix-up with their kit.