Football

Tough times for Chelsea: Conte

Antonio Conte admits Chelsea are going through a "difficult moment" after the Premier League champions crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat by lowly Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Palace claimed their first league goals of the season after losing their first seven matches, with Cesar Azpilicueta's own goal giving them the lead and Wilfried Zaha tying up the win on the stroke of half-time after Tiemoue Bakayoko had equalised for Chelsea.

The loss left Conte's side nine points behind leaders Manchester City and the pain was compounded by a hamstring injury to Victor Moses that will rule him out of their Champions League match with Roma on Thursday morning (Singapore time).

Moses joins Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante on the sidelines, but Blues boss Conte is hopeful striker Alvaro Morata will be fit to return after missing the trip to Palace with a hamstring problem.

Chelsea have lost their last two league games. The Palace setback followed a damaging defeat by Manchester City before the international break.

"It's a very difficult moment for us," said Conte.

"When you start a game without Morata and without Kante, it's not simple.

"Above all, during the game, another important player in your team has an injury like Victor Moses.

"I hope to have him back very soon because this moment is very difficult for us."

Questions have been raised about the depth of Conte's squad this season and the Italian added: "I think the situation is very clear.

"I repeat: My job is to be focused on my work with my players, and to try and do our best. It's important to find a solution. Don't look for excuses." - AFP

CHELSEA (EPL)Antonio Conte