Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that his team are out of the title race following a 0-1 loss to West Ham on Saturday.
Marko Arnautovic scored the lone goal in the 7th minute of the game, and the Hammers held on for their first win under new manager David Moyes.
The loss was Chelsea’s 4th of the season, and Conte admitted that the gulf between themselves and the summit may be insurmountable.
They are currently 11 points behind league leaders Manchester City, and could be 14 points off the pace if City beat neighbors Manchester United on Sunday.
“To talk about the title race after a defeat I think is a bit strange,” Conte told reporters in his post-match news conference.
“Especially as this is the fourth defeat this season in 16 games. When you have this task, it is impossible to think that you are in the title race.
“It is impossible. My experience is this, if you want to stay in the race for the title, in the first part of the season you can lose once, twice.”
He said: “We lost the game against West Ham, it was very because we started badly and conceded this goal and it was difficult to come back. I saw the same game against Manchester City, where Manchester City attacked for the whole game against the whole team behind the ball.
“But City found a way to score. Instead we created the chances but didn’t take them. Now we are talking about the defeat. Many players were tired. It is normal when you play in a few days. We started our pre-season with the same players, a lot are playing almost always, and for sure you have to pay something for this.”