Emmanuel Petit: I am worried about Conte’s future

In his first column for Paddy Power News, Manu looks ahead to a tough season for Chelsea and their manager...


I am worried about Conte’s future, and the start that his team have made to the Premier League.

Chelsea lost the first game of the campaign to Burnley, who only won seven points away from home last year. Can you believe that? Now, missing several of their key players, they have to play a London derby against Tottenham.

This season, Spurs have a great chance of taking all six points off Chelsea.

It will be a very competitive match on Sunday. For me, a defeat is not something that Chelsea players would normally have to consider against this opposition, but I think a draw could well be seen as a win for them this time. I don’t see Chelsea winning.

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But the real problem for the Blues is that, after Spurs, they face several further difficult challenges in their subsequent fixtures.

Their first five games are extremely tough, and the balance of their side is not yet right.

The body-language from the players is off: too many of them look frustrated and under pressure. Just look at the reactions of Fabregas and Cahill after they were sent off.

Conte has also looked very nervous, and the relationship between him and the players seems to be different than six months ago. It seems as if the conflict he had with Costa has had a big impact in the dressing room, and perhaps some players are unhappy in relation to what happened between him and the Brazilian.

It’s too early to say Chelsea are not contenders for the Premier League, as they have a very good first string.

But there’s clearly a problem with the squad, and it’s with quantity rather than quality.

There has been a lot of positive talk about the arrival of Tiémoué Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger, but when you see that the likes John Terry and Nemanja Matic have departed, it seems that they haven’t improved the overall standard. The signings are good players, but can they adjust quickly enough to the Premier League environment?

I watched Chelsea in the Community Shield against Arsenal, and when Costa and Hazard aren’t on the pitch, they’re not the same team in terms of creativity. They don’t press with the same intensity that they did previously. They look fragile.

You can’t tell me that in the space of two months, the reigning champions are no longer good enough to beat a team like Burnley. Even with the absences they had, they have sufficient quality to defeat a side of that calibre.

They were so brilliant last season, so it seems impossible that a team could lose their winning mentality in such a short time. We will have to wait and see.

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What do you think?