LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte made no excuses for a 3-0 home Premier League defeat by lowly Bournemouth, a result he admitted leaves the Blues in danger of missing out on a Champions League place next season.
The defeat was their first in nine league games and dropped the champions to fourth place on goal difference behind Liverpool. Chelsea are two points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who are outside the Champions League qualifying positions in fifth.
“We must be worried,” Conte told reporters. “We have to struggle for a position in the Champions League.
“We have to accept it’s a bad result and understand that we have to fight this season, if someone didn’t understand this they don’t understand football. Football is not simple.
“If we want only to dream, I can tell you now we can fight to win the title this season. But it is important to look at the reality and to know that, if we are able to reach a place in the Champions League, it will be a great success for us.”
Although Chelsea unveiled their new signing Olivier Giroud before the game, Conte is reported to have been at odds with the club over the need to strengthen the squad in the transfer window.
“They deserved to win the game. We tried to do something but it was very difficult for us, even in the first half when the score was 0-0, we struggled a lot,” the Italian said.
“(We struggled) for many reasons, but it’s not important to speak about excuses, they deserve to win and we need to restart to work and to do our best.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond