Olivier Giroud jumps to Antonio Conte’s defence after Chelsea tactics are called into question following City loss

Giroud was defensive when asked whether Conte’s tactics were overly negative

Tom Newman
Monday 05 March 2018 14:26
Olivier Giroud has jumped to his manager's defence
Olivier Giroud has jumped to his manager's defence

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has jumped to the defence of manager Antonio Conte, amid growing criticism of the Italian’s tactics in the 1-0 loss to Manchester City on Sunday.

Giroud, an £18m January signing from London rivals Arsenal, was defensive when asked whether Conte’s tactics were overly negative, with the defeat leaving the Blues five points behind fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur.

“It is a good question [if Chelsea could have been more ambitious vs City]. The coach made his tactics. We tried to respect it. It was okay,” said Giroud, 31.

“They didn’t create too many chances even if they had two or three. I think the target was to be solid at the end and try to score at the end. But when you concede a goal just after half-time, it kills your goal a little bit. We could have come back, at the end but it was not enough and City deserved to win.”

Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville had earlier labelled Chelsea’s display in their 1-0 defeat vs City as “anti-football” and “embarrassing” respectively, and Conte has since hit out at both Redknapp and Neville referring to them as “stupid”.

Pressure has unquestionably been growing on the Chelsea boss, following consecutive defeats to Manchester United and Manchester City.

If United claim all three points in their match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park tonight, Conte’s side will be nine points off second place in the Premier League table.

Antonio Conte was unable to divert from an unambitious, unsuccessful Plan A

But Giroud insists that the Chelsea dressing room remains united behind their beleaguered head coach.

“Of course, I don’t even question myself about that [if the dressing room is still behind the boss],” he added.

“It is not a crisis. We played United and City away. Obviously we could have done better but these are not small games.

“We are not happy with that. It is not the day and the moment to question whether we are behind the boss or not. Obviously we are behind him and we are all sticking together.”

Chelsea next play Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge next weekend, followed by an away trip to the Camp Nou in their second leg, last-16 clash against Barcelona in the Champions League.

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