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Antonio Conte concedes title after Chelsea’s bubble burst by West Ham

• Manager says champions out of Premier League running after 1-0 away defeat
• ‘We created chances, but didn’t take them. Players were tired,’ adds Conte

Antonio Conte conceded that Chelsea’s title defence “never started” and a lack of consistency has made a repeat of last season’s Premier League win inconceivable.

A visibly frustrated Conte had just watched Chelsea perform flatly in losing 1-0 at West Ham United, their fourth defeat of the campaign and a result that sees them remain 11 points behind the leaders Manchester City. The defending champions have now dropped 16 points, just five short of the entire number they ceded in 2016-17, and Conte admitted that it is far short of the standard required for a realistic tilt at the top. “To talk about the title race after a defeat, I think it a bit strange,” Conte said. “Especially as this is the fourth defeat this season in 16 games.

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