After Chelsea's five-year winning streak against Arsenal ended in a 3-0 drubbing yesterday, coach Antonio Conte has called them a great team “only on paper”. The Italian boss criticized the attitude shown by his squad on the night and said that it was time for some serious work for the team.
Antonio Conte's time at the helm at Stamford Bridge began well enough but the Blues have slumped to a three-game win-less streak now. It began with a draw against Swansea before they lost 1-2 to Liverpool at home. However, the latest loss must rankle as they were demolished by the three-man hit squad of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil at the Emirates. Chelsea appeared clueless as they were pegged back for most of the game by Arsenal who toyed with them and could have made it an utter humiliation if not for Theo Walcott and Sanchez missed some gilt-edged chances in the second half.
"I think that from the first minute we didn't have the right attitude and I think that we played against a good team, who were well organised in the tactical and physical aspect," Conte told BT Sport.
The Italian admitted that his side can now be considered great only on paper given their recent performances.
"After today we are thinking that we must work a lot. Now we are a great team only on paper.
I think that it is always a team problem, not individual players. When nothing works it is very difficult for a player to play a good game.
However, Conte refused to be drawn into individual performances and players, and when asked about Gary Cahill's blunder that led to the first goal said, "I don't want to speak about the mistake because it is not right for the player. We win as a team and we lose as a team.
"We know that we must work a lot and if someone thinks now this team is ready to fight… we must wait to be a great team not only on paper but on the pitch. This is important."
Chelsea are now eighth in the EPL table eight points adrift of leaders Manchester City, but Conte said that it's time for introspection before they look ahead.
He added: "Manchester City started the season very well. They are playing very well.
"But I think also that everyone must look in our house for the problem.
"It is important now to look in our house and not in the other houses."