Courtois backs Conte after Watford defeat
LONDON: Chelsea players remain supportive of manager Antonio Conte despite suffering a second successive three-goal defeat in the Premier League on Monday, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has said.
Five days after losing 3-0 at home to Bournemouth, Chelsea's defence of their league title hit a new low when they were beaten 4-1 at Watford.
The result left them fourth in the table, 19 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, and increased the pressure already mounting on their Italian manager.
"We believe in him and we believe in our team. We have two bad results and we just try to get back, regroup and just continue," Courtois told club's website (www.chelseafc.com).
"Obviously we are disappointed with the two results we have had in the last week, obviously it is not good, but we have to regroup in training, have heads high and continue the hard work and just continue what we were doing.
"We have now two bad losses but we are a team with the manager, and everyone is positive about that, and we will try to do our best to win next week."
Chelsea were reduced to 10 men against Watford when Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off after half an hour and they fell behind to Troy Deeney's penalty 12 minutes later.
Eden Hazard equalised eight minutes from time, but late goals from Daryl Janmaat, Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra condemned Chelsea to back-to-back three-goal defeats for the first time since 1995.
"We showed that we wanted to fight, even with 10 men, and that shows we have character, but when you lose twice like that, it is not good and there are questions raised, but we go back to training with the manager, and training well and turn this situation around," Courtois added.
Chelsea started 2018 second in the table and in the semi-finals of the League Cup, but they were beaten over two legs by Arsenal and have drawn two and lost two of their five Premier League matches so far this year.
Conte's side are now just one point ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and face a fight for Champions League qualification.
They remain in this season's competition but face runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona in the last-16, with the first leg at home on February 20.