Rome - Antonio Conte blasted Chelsea's lack of hunger after
becoming the first English club to lose in the Champions League this season
with a ruthless 3-0 rout by AS Roma.
Conte lamented that the English champions - who would have
advanced to the last 16 with a win - "lacked everything" after a
match where they went a goal down after 38 seconds, the first of a Stephan El
El Shaarawy made it 2-0 after 36 minutes when ex-Roma
defender Antonio Rudiger failed to control Radja Nainggolan's long ball
forward. Argentine Diego Perotti scored the third midway through the second
half, before missing a chance for a fourth.
"Roma proved to have more hunger, more desire, more
will to fight and to beat us. We lacked everything," complained Conte.
"If we think because our name is Chelsea the opponent
is fearful, this is not the right way. We must have a great desire in every
The former Italy and Juventus boss took over Chelsea in
2016, winning the Premier League title in his first season. But this campaign
they are trailing nine points behind leaders Manchester City.
"What I am most disappointed about is the performance
in the second half. I believe in the first half we played well," he
"We then created many chances but we weren't clinical
or ruthless enough to convert them.
"There is great disappointment for our second half,
because I didn't see positive things, it was really bad for a team like
Chelsea can still qualify from Group C as Atletico Madrid
were held 1-1 by Qarabag in Madrid.
Conte's side are four points above third-placed Atletico and
can go through with a win in their next game in Azerbaijan on November 22.
"We must find the hunger we showed all of last season,
and sometimes this season. But this season has been up and down. We need to
find consistency," added the Italian, who had expressed his optimism
before Tuesday's game as players were starting to return from injury.
And in a group where they were considered outsiders, Roma
are now leaders with two games to go, a point ahead of Chelsea, and five ahead
of the Spaniards.
A draw in their next game against Atletico would see Eusebio
Di Francesco's side through to the knockout round in his first season at the
club he played for during his footballing career.
The Serie A runners-up have proven solid if uninspirational
in the Italian league this season coming off three straight 1-0 victories as
they sit fifth.
But against Chelsea they have let it rip, following on from
a thrilling 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago.
On front of an ecstatic 55 000 crowd at the Stadio Olympico
El Shaarawy got the Roma party going.
But despite the perfect start Roma did not have it all their
own way as three early chances fell to Eden Hazard who was by far the most
dangerous Chelsea player.
The visitors had two more opportunities before the break
from Marcos Alonso and Tiemoue Bakayoko after the hosts had already pulled
Di Francesco hailed an impressive team performance.
"We've shown that we're an improving side. We mustn't
stop now, though. We have to push on from here.
"We need to take this spirit with us in all
competitions across the campaign - and if we do I am convinced we can achieve