Antonio Conte has slammed “stupid” pundits for criticising his “anti-football” tactics in Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City.
Conte deployed his usual five-man defence during the 1-0 loss at the Etihad, with Bernardo Silva scoring the winner just moments into the second-half.
But Chelsea’s Italian tactician, weakened by the loss of N’Golo Kante, also decided to field a flat four-man midfielder – leaving Eden Hazard completely isolated as a false nine.
The Blues’ key man hardly had a sniff during the game as City took advantage of Chelsea’s defensive instincts to dominate possession.
The likes of Jamie Redknapp led criticism of Conte’s tactics as Chelsea succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the Etihad with a poor performance
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp had harsh words for Conte’s game plan, branding it a “crime against football.”
However, Conte insists he had no choice but to sit back against City’s destructive attack, telling his critics they have no “knowledge” of tactics and must not “speak in a stupid way.”
Conte said: “I think you have to accept every criticism, but I am not so stupid to play against Man City open and lose 3-0 or 4-0.
“If I remember well, two days ago, Arsenal played twice against them and 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.
“[The players] followed my instructions. We prepared the game in this way, [not to] concede space between the lines.
“When you play Man City you have to use your brain otherwise you risk the finish the game in a bad way. We tried to not concede space and it was good.
“To concede a goal after 30 seconds of the second half was a pity because it was very difficult for us to come back.
“I tried to do something with the subs. When we decided to play with Pedro, Willian and Hazard, there is a bit of difficult to have on the bench players to change the game.
“We tried to change with two strikers. We played against a strong, important team. It is very difficult to keep the balance of last season with Hazard as a No 10. We needed in this position two players with quality and to run defensively. I thought Pedro and Willian played a fantastic game.”