Antonio Conte losing support of Chelsea fans after Man City no-show

Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at Manchester City saw them slip further adrift of an all-important top-four berth that will guarantee Champions League football next season.

With nine league games remaining, it's not inconceivable the Blues in fifth could reel in rivals Tottenham, who are five points better off in fourth and have had a habit of folding under pressure in recent seasons. However, form suggests that if things continue as they are the margin between the clubs could widen in Spurs' favour.

To underline this, if the Premier League had started on Jan.1, Spurs would be top. Chelsea, meanwhile, would be languishing all the way down in twelfth.

Carrying the can for the spectacular slump is Antonio Conte, whose negative park-the-bus, damage limitation tactics against City brought swathes of damning criticism. Supporters joined pundits in rounding on the Italian, who had previously retained sufficient support for chants of "Antonio, Antonio" to drown out any dissenting voices.

That Conte had remained in favour with Chelsea's match-going fraternity for so long owes much to the sparkling way he guided them to the Premier League last season. There's also the perception he hasn't been backed sufficiently by the board in the transfer market.

It's a familiar tale of woe that mirrors in many ways the demise of previous Roman Abramovich-era managers, most recently Jose Mourinho who was sacked six months after winning the title in 2015. Mourinho's abrupt dismissal brought with it protests from Chelsea fans. However, sympathy for Conte -- who signed a new two-year deal reported to be worth £19.2 million last July -- has rapidly waned.

Last month, Conte defiantly said it was his "intention, will and desire" to see out his contract. Such ambition should have been reflected by his players, but the harsh reality is that by and large Chelsea's performances have been the antithesis of this.

posted by: kawhismile 3 years ago
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