LONDON: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte blamed a loss of composure after the Premier League champions were shocked 3-2 by Burnley in their opening game of the new season on Saturday.
After Chelsea’s new captain Gary Cahill was shown a straight red card in the 14th minute at Stamford Bridge, a Sam Vokes brace and a Stephen Ward rocket saw Burnley go 3-0 up before half-time.
Goals from substitute Alvaro Morata and David Luiz brought Chelsea back into the game, but Cesc Fabregas’s dismissal for two bookable offences meant Conte’s men finished the game with nine men.
“We tried until the end to reach a good result against Burnley. It was a pity because our fight in the second half was very good,” Conte said.
“But our first half, we kept losing our heads. After the red card we lost our heads, conceded two goals and then it’s very difficult to change the final result.”
Conte has struggled to conceal his frustrations over Chelsea’s failure to strengthen their squad, with Morata, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero their only new signings.
Bakayoko was absent through injury against Burnley, along with star man Eden Hazard, while striker Diego Costa has been frozen out after being deemed surplus to requirements.
Conte said he did not want to answer questions about Costa, but tellingly conceded: “For me it’s in the past.”
The Italian also did his best to allay fears about the thinness of his squad.
“We must focus on working very hard with these players,” he said.
“As for the transfer market, the club is trying to do the best. I am not worried. I am ready to fight with these players.
“I repeat: it is important for us to concentrate on our work, to be focused every day in training and to try to work in our best way. No excuses.”--AFP