I'm not stupid - Conte responds to 'crime against football' jibe
Antonio Conte responded to the claim Chelsea committed "a crime against football" with their display against Manchester City by stating that an attacking approach would have been stupid.
Chelsea did not register a single shot on target across 90 minutes of the 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, with Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian barely involved as City controlled proceedings throughout.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp was highly critical of what he branded "anti-football" from the Blues, but Conte did not want to be overly ambitious and suffer defeat like Arsenal, who lost 3-0 to City twice over the past eight days.
"I think you have to accept every criticism but I am not so stupid to play against Manchester City open and to lose 3-0 or 4-0," the Chelsea boss said in his post-match news conference.
"If I remember well, two days ago, Arsenal played twice against them and then you criticised [Arsene] Wenger a lot because they conceded three goals in only 30 minutes.
"The pundit has to use the head to understand when you speak about tactics because I think you must have knowledge to speak about tactics and not only to speak in a stupid way."
He added: "[The players] followed my instructions. We prepared the game in this way, to not concede space between the lines.
"When you play against City you have to use your brain, otherwise you risk finishing the game in a bad way and to lose 3-0 or 4-0."
167 - Ilkay Gündogan completed more passes on his own today vs Chelsea than Stoke City did as a team vs Southampton yesterday (162). Machine. pic.twitter.com/gasAoxwEfb-- OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2018
Chelsea have now lost four of their last five Premier League outings, with their other defeats coming against Bournemouth, Watford and Manchester United.
While those performances frustrated Conte, he claimed his players could hold their heads high after the trip to City, despite sitting five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
"I think that we must have a big regret for the defeats against Bournemouth, Watford and United, but I don't think today because I think we played against a strong team," he said.
"I think they showed the difference between them and us in this moment - 25 points is a big gap and I think that we can have regret for the other games but not for this because I think the effort of the players was an important effort.
"[City] are showing fantastic quality but at the same time fantastic mentality. When you match quality and mentality you become unstoppable."