Antonio Conte’s men are reportedly very unhappy with their manager’s training methods and the fact that it has increased despite a busier calendar for the club.
Chelsea was always going to have a tough time in the Champions League, especially with the Blues coming off a Premier League title-winning season. There was always going to be a lot of expectations and pressure put on their shoulders but despite that, Antonio Conte and his men have handled the Champions League with 2 wins and one draw.
However, their Premier League form has suffered and they sit nine points of leaders Manchester City. But things get worse for Conte because according to the Times, Chelsea players are unhappy with the way things are going in training. While the number of matches per week has increased, the Italian manager still continues to insist on highly physically demanding sessions, and very days off despite the rigorous schedule.
This has led to fitness concerns among the players and with a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace, who picked up their first win of the season, Conte is coming under heavy scrutiny from his boardroom. Last season, while the Blues did indeed win the Premier League title, they were helped by the fact that they did not have to concern themselves with European football.
This meant that the team had a full week to deal and prepare for matches, time that they do not have now with a Champions League game every other mid-week. This has to lead to a drastic situation, with the Blues gaining just seven points from their last five games, with two wins and two losses. Chelsea now sits on fifth behind Watford and Tottenham going into Matchday 9, where they face an in-form Watford, who are just coming off a win against Arsenal.
"Chelsea should close their academy" – @Fizzer18
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) October 18, 2017
That’s not the only issue, with the Blues looking at injuries to key players, with the likes of Victor Moses, David Luiz and both N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko out injured. This means that while Alvaro Morata is still recovering from a hamstring injury, and Michy Batsuhuayi hasn’t really made his mark yet, the Blues may have problems in the coming months.
However, while the squad does remain supportive of their title-winning manager, there is an underlying factor that comes into question. The fact that Chelsea certainly does not look like the team, that won the title last season and do not have enough depth in their squad to fight for both the Premier League and Champions League trophies. The fact that Antonio Conte has come under fire for not making use of his youth teams and even sending promising players out on loan, instead of giving them a chance.
Combined with the intense training sessions, things could go from bad to worse for Antonio Conte, but there is still more than enough time to make a change. The Blues were on a run of seven wins in eight games before the wins dried up and they started on the three-game winless run. Things could easily change for Chelsea, but they need to take it one game at a time starting with Watford.