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Antonio Conte: Chelsea lacked spirit, will and desire in Newcastle defeat

16 May 2018

Antonio Conte's side went into its final Premier League match of the season needing a win and a slip-up from Liverpool to book a place in the top four, but the deposed champion failed to keep up its end of the bargain.

'That's not an excuse, any other time I wouldn't be saying that, but we have a massive week to prepare for a cup final which is very important for us'.

Conte revealed that Thibaut Courtois had trained with the side and is in contention to make the trip to St. James' Park for the season finale, having missed the disappointing draw to Huddersfield Town with a back injury. "But I think when there is this situation the first person to answer for this must be the coach, because if in this game we lacked the spirit, the will, the desire, I'm the first person to answer for this".

Whilst Conte is not entirely responsible for our downfall, the Italian's attitude has been far from professional in recent times and his negative approach to games have also cost the team.

Antonio Conte has questioned whether he can still motivate Chelsea's players after their 3-0 surrender at Newcastle - and warned they will lose next weekend's FA Cup final with a repeat performance. From Premier League champions to outside the Champions League places in 12 months.

Liverpool spent much of the 1970s and 1980s as the most dominant team in English football and players like Ian rush, Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish played integral parts in their success. Conceding three goals and finishing the game with nine men was an early sign that it was going to be a rollercoaster season for the Blues. If nothing else, Chelsea looked like a team without a plan this season. Prior to the Huddersfield game we were in good form but that's not an excuse.

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With one of the weakest squads in the league, Benitez has led Newcastle to a tenth-placed finish, 11 points clear of relegation.

Newcastle's 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in midweek all but ruined Chelsea's hopes of a top four finish, but the hosts will be hoping to finish the job on Sunday.

"The biggest concern for me was that midfield area", Sinclair said on Chelsea TV.

The Premier League match between Newcastle and Chelsea will be broadcast on NBCSN. Their first Premier League second place finish was in the 2001/02 season, where they finished seven points behind Arsene Wenger's Arsenal.

"I don't care if you're a top class player or a basic player, hard work is just a basic of the game".

He told reporters when quizzed on the interest being shown in Lascelles: "I don't know if it is Chelsea or any other one".

Antonio Conte: Chelsea lacked spirit, will and desire in Newcastle defeat