Ex-Blue: Watching Chelsea was ‘brutal’ but Conte made right decision at Man City

2018-03-05 11:34:27

Former Chelsea midfielder Vinnie Jones has told talkSPORT Antonio Conte was CORRECT to play defensive football against Manchester City - even if it was ‘brutal’ to watch.

The Blues visited the Etihad on Sunday and basically refused to attack Pep Guardiola’s side in an eventual 1-0 defeat.

Man City completed 902 passes throughout the match, which is a new Premier League record, while midfielder Ilkay Gundogan broke the existing record for most passes completed by a single player in a single game with a total of 174.

After the match, a video emerged showing Chelsea’s refusal to press the hosts when they were in possession, which earned the Blues much derision, though head coach Conte defended his negative style by highlighting how easily City cut through opponents if they attempt to play offensive football against Guardiola’s side.

And Jones has backed Conte’s decision, saying that if the Blues had nicked a result no one would be criticising Chelsea.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Jones said: “If you go up there, it’s a fortress at Manchester City, the way they are playing - they are invincible at the moment.

“You get five at the back, five in front of them, and try and nick something.

“If they [Chelsea] had come away with a point, I think everybody would have said ‘they’ve done well’.

“But, I know what you’re saying; the way they played was brutal to watch.

“I saw them at Watford a few weeks ago, and it was the same thing then.

“They were smashing balls up, but they’ve got to play the ball about.

“It was brutal to watch - I will say that - but if Chelsea had gone and nicked the draw and won a point, I think it would be a different discussion today.”

Chelsea’s continuing struggles and Conte’s decision to play negative football have increased the likelihood the Italian will be out of work at the end of the season.

Roman Abramovich is said to already be looking at potential successors for Conte, and Jones had his say on Conte leaving this summer.

Asked whether Conte will stay at Chelsea next season, Jones replied: “I don’t think he wants to. To me, it looks like he doesn’t want to. I think he knows he’s going to go, I think the players know he is going to go, so the players are like ‘all right, we’ll regroup next season’.

“They don’t have a [Frank] Lampard and a John Terry to sort the dressing room out now.”

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