There was an anxious delay between an overjoyed Watford manager Javi Gracia finishing his post-match press conference and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte showing up for his, especially since it’s usually the away side or the losing side who go first in these situations and Conte qualified under both. But he eventually did show up, putting rumors to bed (for this brief moment) of already getting sacked in the tunnels (a la Ancelotti) or being in a taxi somewhere heading home.
Conte says for sure this is a difficult moment but he does not believe you solve it by looking for excuses. He adds that winners find solutions, losers find excuses. That is all from the boss here but there will be more words from him on the official Chelsea website soon. #WATCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 5, 2018
As far as the game itself, everything went wrong from just about the first minute to the last. Chelsea started poorly, then got even worse, and outside of a few minutes of hope in the second-half, were terrible across the board.
Conte: "I've great disappointmen. Our performance was very poor tonight We started very bad, without personality. We played with fear. We are not used to play this type of football. We can lose, but always try to play football. To try to be positive. Instead we started very bad."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
Conte says he saw he side play with fear: "I think this is the wrst situation I can see for a coach."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
Even the equalizer, which came from a great individual Hazard effort, was almost detrimental to the cause, as Chelsea got eve more disorganized and were made to pay repeatedly and emphatically by the hosts.
Conte says in the second half he saw will and desire but a lot of confusion. "I think in that moment we must be good to manage the situation. To understand the situation... Instead in 10 minutes wer conceded three goals."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
So what happens now? Conte talked about his own great disappointment, about everyone needing to take responsibility, about not playing with fear, and about continuing the work. As ever, there is only one way forward. Work, work, and more work.
Conte says everyone must take responsibility fo this result: "Me. The players."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
Conte: "To play football in a great club you must have a personality." Circles around this point a few times. Stops. Then goes to a familar riff: "We have to work." Says, again, he has to take responsibility, as maybe his starting XI was wrong.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
As far as his job security, Conte claims he’s not worried about it and that he hasn’t lost the dressing room. Whether you believe him or not is immaterial. The only opinion that matters now is the owner’s.
Conte: "I am not worried about my job. I work every day, and I give 120%. If this is not enough then it is OK... No, I am not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be Chelsea coach or not. My soul is clear. I go to sleep without a problem."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
Things are looking bleak at the moment, there is no doubt about that. Conceding seven goals to Bournemouth and Watford will tend to do that. Conte’s never been one for blind hope, and he’s got none to give right now either.
Conte is asked if he can turn things around at Chelsea: "I cannot predict the future."— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 5, 2018
Before the post-match presser, Conte stopped for a brief chat with Sky’s cameras, saying most of the same things as he later did to the assembled journalists.
Hopefully this is not the last time we get to see Conte in action as Chelsea boss.