Antonio Conte has responded to Monday’s drubbing at Watford by granting his Chelsea players three days off to charge their batteries as the head coach desperately seeks to instigate a recovery in next week’s visit of West Bromwich Albion.
The 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road was Chelsea’s third loss in four fixtures. The thrashing left the champions only a point ahead of 5th-placed Tottenham and drew greater focus on to Conte’s position as head coach, with the Italian admitting post-match that his team are playing with fear and it would “be very difficult to turn the situation positive”.
The club were insistent on Monday night that it remains business as usual but, after two wins in 10 games this year and with Conte always expected to depart in the summer, it remains to be seen whether the head coach is granted time to oversee a recovery. Roman Abramovich is in London at present.