Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has dismissed rumours of discontent over his training methods.
Conte insists Chelsea’s training loads are “70 per cent less” than during last season’s Premier League-winning campaign. And Conte says the proximity of matches renders the work which brought success last term “impossible”.
“I don’t know about this,” said the Italian, when asked about media speculation of disgruntlement at Chelsea. “I have my methods. It’s the same, like last season when we won the league.
“Honestly I think we are working maybe 70 per cent less this season. Maybe for this reason we are having trouble. When you play every three days it’s impossible to work on the tactical aspect and physical aspect. I think we are paying less attention in every detail.”
Chelsea play Watford on Saturday, seeking to avoid a third successive Premier League loss after defeats to Manchester City and Crystal Palace.
The last time Chelsea lost three straight league games was autumn 2015 as Jose Mourinho’s second spell as boss was unravelling before his departure that December. Conte was asked about his position and his happiness.
“At the moment, after two defeats and a draw, I’m happy for the commitment, efforts of my players,” Conte added. “If you ask me about the last results I’m not happy because after two defeats and one draw no coach can be happy.
“If I feel the pressure? I think every coach, every manager has to feel the pressure. When I go to my house I’m happy because I know in every moment I put all myself in my job for this club, for the fans, for my players. (But) you know very well anything can happen in football.”
The Blues, who top Champions League Group C after Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Roma, are nine points behind Premier League leaders City entering this weekend’s fixtures.
Conte has pointed to problems with injuries and has “many doubts” for the Watford contest. The Italian on Wednesday responded to Jose Mourinho’s thinly-veiled barb about rival bosses “crying” about injuries, telling the Manchester United manager to concentrate on his own side.
Asked about Mourinho on Friday, Conte, while making a prodding gesture, said: “You are here today to try to (prod)… For me this is a stupid subject. It’s fun to see your (the media’s) interest in this.”
Chelsea have three winnable games before playing at Roma on October 31 and at home to United in the Premier League on November 5.
Watford’s visit is followed by Everton’s in the Carabao Cup fourth round and the trip to Bournemouth. Conte is taking nothing for granted, saying: “Every opponent can be dangerous.”
Midfielders N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Danny Drinkwater (calf) and right wing-back Victor Moses (hamstring) are out against Watford, while David Luiz (calf) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (groin) picked up knocks against Roma and could be absent.
There was some positive news on Kante, with Conte adding: “I hope to have him back very soon, before the international break. If Kante is available before Roma, Manchester United, I will be very happy.”