March 5, 2018

Wise: Conte Subs Disappointing  (Sky Sports)

Oliver Giroud and Alvaro MorataAntonio Conte's failure to bring on main strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud early against Manchester City has been questioned by Dennis Wise.

Conte chose to start the game against Premier League leaders City with his £70m striker Morata on the bench and did not bring the Spain international on until the dying stages, despite trailing.

Chelsea's head coach introduced Giroud with just minutes remaining on the clock, forcing winger Eden Hazard to play the majority of the match as a solo makeshift striker.

City swept Chelsea aside as a result and dominated across the pitch - something which Wise feels Conte is largely to blame for.

"Hazard is not a centre-forward, I don't believe," Wise told Premier League Daily.

"Maybe he [Conte] felt against Barcelona they did well in that system, he felt it could work against City. It didn't.

"When you know it's not working you expect a change around 50 minutes to change the way your team is playing and that was the disappointing this about it, in the manner the substitution came on.

"You've got two strikers sitting on the bench ready to come on and all of a sudden you put one on in 80 minutes and another on in close to 90 minutes to affect the game. You can't do that.

"I think it was wrong in the way they set their stall out and the way they played. It was against a great team and you might as well go down and go down at least having a go.

The 1-0 defeat, a fourth in their last five games, has seen Chelsea slip outside the top four and now face the prospect of missing out on the Champions League for the season time in three seasons.

Wise feels the upcoming fixture against London rivals Tottenham, which is live on Sky Sports, is crucial to Chelsea's top-four chances.

He said: "It boils down to result at Stamford Bridge, it's a really big game on April 1 against Spurs. Chelsea have got to win that. You won't find out [who's getting CL] until after that situation how Chelsea are going to get into a CL spot. It's a massive, massive game for Chelsea and they can only look at getting three points against Spurs."

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