Conte: Chelsea Were Tired Against Better Leicester City

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been linked with a move to Real Madrid

Antonio Conte's side could have moved above Manchester United and up to second but were outplayed by a Foxes team that wasted several good chances and ended the game with 10 men after Ben Chilwell picked up a second booking.

Antonio Conte believes Chelsea's lacklustre performance at home to 10-man Leicester City was down to tiredness.

The East Midlands outfit have so far had a fine time in 2018, trouncing Huddersfield Town by a resounding 3-0 before keeping another clean sheet in a goalless draw at Fleetwood Town.

Conte feels most of his top players were exhausted after the grueling first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final against Arsenal and it showed in their performance.

Leicester boss Claude Puel coached Eden Hazard as a teenager at Lille
GETTY Leicester boss Claude Puel coached Eden Hazard as a teenager at Lille

"I think not to find excuses or alibis, today we paid a lot for the effort [against] Arsenal". The Foxes beat Chelsea 2-1 at the King Power Stadium in December 2015 which proved to be Jose Mourinho's last game in charge of the Blues.

Whether it's fitness concerns or a tactical decision which leads to Conte's tendency to remove Hazard from the fray, supporters are unhappy that their best player isn't being allowed to help the side when they're chasing a goal.

Another to consider is Jamie Vardy given that, since August 2014, he has scored more Premier League goals against "big six" opposition than any other player (22 goals in 41 apps).

"There is something odd that after the first game we lost against Burnley, the press pushed quickly to sack me".

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Chelsea's stuttering form in front of goal continued against Leicester City on Saturday and made a piece of unwanted history for the Blues.

"We didn't play well but that's when we need the fans behind us".

"At this moment maybe Leicester is the worst team for us to face", he added.

Gary Cahill came off in the 33rd minute for Chelsea with an apparent hamstring injury. This is not the Conte that we all know and adore - it's nearly as though he's thrown in the towel.

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'We are conceding less but not great quality in our finishing but not only Morata, from corners defenders have the chance to score but not take.

Conte was asked why Chelsea apparently have not joined the race for Sanchez, with Michy Batshuayi failing to convince as a back-up to Alvaro Morata and "half" striker Eden Hazard often used instead as a "false nine".

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