Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes Manchester City’s early goal in the second half disrupted his game plan in Sunday’s Premier League clash at the Etihad.
After holding out to a goalless first half, City finally found the breakthrough thanks to Bernardo Silva who slotted home just 30 seconds into the second half.
The defeat left Chelsea in fifth, eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the league table.
“The effort was an important effort by the players but despite this we conceded a goal after 30 seconds in the second half and after that it was difficult to come back,” Conte said in his post-match interview.
“We played against a team with fantastic quality. They have a great mentality and we must give the best compliment for Manchester City.
“When you play against City you have to try not to concede space between the lines and space on the pitch because they are incredible on the ball. If we did not concede a goal after 30 seconds maybe it could have been more simple.
“We tried to have patience. When you are 1-0 down you can always have the possibility to score. When you concede the space to Manchester City there is the risk for the game to finish 3-0 or 4-0.
“When you play against a team that has shown to be stronger than you for a lot – because 25 points is a big difference – you have to think with your brain and not your head because otherwise you finish with a bad loss and that’s not good for the players.”
Conte posited that Chelsea did not lose due to poor tactics and lamented the absence of N’Golo Kante who was out due to illness.
He said: “If you give City space behind us the game can finish not 1-0. It’s not good enough but this is the truth, I don’t think this is because of the tactics.
“It’s not simple to play against Man City. They have great intensity of every moment of the game we tried to do this and defend well but we conceded a goal after 30 seconds of the second half and it’s very difficult to come back from that but don’t forget we were missing N’Golo Kante who is a crucial player for our balance.”
The former Juventus manager added: “In this moment it is very difficult to play against Manchester City. They are a really strong team with fantastic quality. We tried. It’s a pity for the goal we conceded after 30 seconds of the second half, that changed the game. My tactics were to not concede space between the lines, if you do that you risk losing by many goals.
“They have a fantastic mentality when they lose the ball, they want to run and press and are a really strong team.”