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Conference Call: A show of substance if not style

Antonio Conte saw a great effort from his players tonight to rescue a draw even if the match against Roma did not pan out as he had hoped.

It was an engrossing game of Champions League football that swung back and forth throughout. For a while it looked like we might end up losing, despite going 2-0 up in the first half, but Eden Hazard’s second goal of the night earned us a point that keeps Chelsea on top of Group C at the halfway stage.

Conte can take heart from his team’s fighting spirit, but he also admitted he was disappointed with the manner of our performance for large periods, something he put down to his team selection.

‘I like to be honest,’ Conte began. ‘For sure I didn’t like the type of football that we did for a lot of the game.

‘It’s right to take responsibility for this. I tried with one hand to protect my team to become more solid, and move a central defender into midfield, Luiz.

‘On the other hand, we totally lost our style of football. I didn’t like this.

‘In the end I think the result was fair. We were 2-0 up but we weren’t in control of the game and it’s right to take the responsibility for this. Sometimes you have to find the right solution to try to protect your team. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

‘When we switched back to our system, we pushed deeper, we had chances and in some instances we played good football.

‘You know our situation very well. It was good to draw because Roma deserved this result. I have to praise my players because they showed me a big effort, a big commitment tonight otherwise we lose the game.’

David Luiz was substituted early in the second half

‘After the first half the doctor told me David Luiz had a pain in his calf, and the same for Bakayoko in his groin. It was a good decision to try to protect him. In this moment it’s very important to protect the players.

‘We must realise we had three important players out, Kante, Drinkwater and Moses, and this gives us problems, but I am not looking for excuses now. I tried an extra defender to protect more the team, but in terms of the style and system I want to see, it must always be the same.’

Conte acknowledged our visitors performed well but overall he was more concerned with his team’s showing

‘Roma are a strong team but we gave away much tonight in terms of ball possession. Roma’s performance was very strong, so all credit to them, but we must do better than that.

‘I am going home tonight not being happy. I know you can lose games but you always you have to try to perform and give everything even if you don’t get the result you want.’

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