Chelsea blame “tiredness” for West Ham loss; title hopes over?

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Chelsea simply didn’t show up against West Ham United on Saturday.

The reigning Premier League champs lost 1-0 at West Ham as Antonio Conte‘s men looked lackluster from the start and never truly recovered from Marko Arnautovic‘s early goal.

Speaking after the game, Conte revealed his disappointment at the defeat and revealed that fatigue played a big part in his team not performing.

“Our start was bad but today we played a bit tired. To face one game every two games always with the same players is very difficult,” Conte said. “And we have just started this period. You have to move the ball quickly. But I repeat, we saw today a bit of tiredness in my players, especially in the last pass, we did a lot of mistakes. We must be disappointed.”

Conte also seemed to suggest that his focus will no be on Chelsea finishing in the top four with Man City able to go 14 points clear of Chelsea with a win on Sunday.

“I repeat, we create many chances but were not able to score. We have to go and to play game by game, to be focused. Don’t forget in this league it is very difficult. There are six top teams and four go to Champions League. We have to fight and do our best,” Conte said.

Chelsea’s captain Gary Cahill echoed Conte’s sentiments and he didn’t want to blame having too many games for their poor display.

“We were well off it, we allowed them to get the early goal, we have been tight at the back recently and that was a poor one to concede. We just didn’t play our stuff. It’s frustrating,” Cahill told Sky Sports. “We were just not at the races – for whatever reason that is. It’s disappointing to come off and feel like that… This was a huge game for us. We needed to win this game. We have to reflect and try and freshen up.”

You could certainly point the finger at Conte for his team selection on Saturday.

Chelsea made just one change from their midweek draw with Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and had the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Pedro and Willian all on the bench.

With a midweek trip to Huddersfield coming up on Tuesday, you’d have to think Conte will switch things up to try and get a reaction from his players.

Chelsea’s title hopes seem all but over and now it’s all about going far in the Champions League and finishing in the top four of the PL.

Having a small squad and being unable to cope with the rigors of European action and the PL was always likely to bite Chelsea this season. It has. And hard.