Chelsea were beaten 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, and the manner the game went has led to a lot of criticisms from fans and pundits alike.
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin also admitted that the game was painful for him to watch.
He wrote in his column for the official Chelsea website: “Let’s be honest, the match against Man City was pretty painful to watch for most, if not all Chelsea fans, even if City are quite capable of doing that to literally any team in the world on their day. Having watched little old Wigan find a way however, there was at least some hope that maybe we could too, but it did not seem likely as the game progressed.”
Nevin then admitted that Chelsea still have a good chance of making it back into the top four.
He continued: “With Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester United creating a little gap now, the upcoming Premier League run of four from the next five games at home has become the defining part of the season for the club.
“A win against Palace at the weekend is an absolute necessity I suspect, if we want to be realistic about any top-four hopes. Three points there will allow the following league game against Spurs to become the biggest derby of the season by a distance. Then and only then will we be back in the mix with the top four and all it entails. There is however precious little wriggle room, even if all the others will drop points here and there.”
He then admitted that the plan could have worked especially in the second-half when Chelsea limited the chances created by City.
He added: “Up until losing the goal moments after half-time on Sunday, it was backs to the wall but with very few chances coughed up and maybe the looks of a plan that just might work.
“The problem is of course that had Antonio opened the game up, by either taking off a centre-back or moving to a 3-5-2, then maybe an unlikely scraped point would have been won and hailed as a great result, but he knows fine well that any team who plays open football against City at the Etihad generally gets picked off and the word naïve is then bandied about regarding the opposition coach. Conte is anything but naïve and he clearly wasn’t willing to step into that particular trap.”