Tuesday 25 October 2016

Conte blasts lack of unity in Chelsea squad

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard

A late brace from Eden Hazard could not prevent Chelsea slumping to a 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid in their International Champions Cup clash in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

First-half goals from Marcelo (two) and Mariano Diaz set a Madrid side missing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos on course for victory.

Antonio Conte's men responded twice late on through Hazard but were unable to get an equaliser in front of a 105,826 crowd at the Michigan Stadium - the largest ever official attendance for a Chelsea match, according to the Blues.

Conte only made two changes to the side that beat Liverpool in midweek, with Oscar coming in for the suspended Cesc Fabregas and Pedro replacing Victor Moses, but the Blues were swept aside by the European champions in the first half.

After John Terry had failed to make the most of an early opportunity for Chelsea, it was virtually all Madrid for the remainder of the opening period.

Asmir Begovic was called on to make a number of saves but he was still beaten three times before the interval, with Madrid captain Marcelo opening the scoring with a shot that took a huge deflection off Oscar. Marcelo made it 2-0 in the 26th minute before the Brazil full-back set up Mariano Diaz for Real's third, the 22-year-old smashing a long-range strike past Begovic.

Chelsea, for whom new signing N'Golo Kante and injured striker Diego Costa did not feature, pulled a goal back with 10 minutes to go through second-half substitute Hazard.

The Belgian then netted his second in stoppage time following good work by another of the club's summer signings, Michy Batshuayi, but Madrid held on for the win.

Afterwards, Conte warned that Chelsea risk enduring another disappointing season unless they find a way to become a team both on and off the field.

"I know it's not easy to play this game against another great club after only two days of rest, and after a flight of four hours and a half," Conte said in his post-game news conference. "I know this because I knew the team was a bit tired.

"But today, I think that this match is very important for us because after this game it's clear that we have to work together always - without the ball and with the ball - because if we think that we can't work together when we don't have the ball, it's not possible for us. It's not possible, and we risk to repeat a bad season."

Conte, however, did find time to praise Hazard: "Hazard, he's recovering the good shape. I liked him in this position, like a forward. I think he can be a good solution for us."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News