Antonio Conte has warned that he would ditch underperforming Chelsea players during an inquest at the club’s training ground into the shambolic defeat in Rome.
Ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Sunday, the head coach made it clear that he would not tolerate a repeat of the performance and rounded on those he felt bore most responsibility for the second-half capitulation during the 3-0 Champions League defeat to Roma.
At one point Conte turned his fire on the Brazilian Kenedy, an unused substitute in the game, who he caught yawning during the tirade.
Conte has become concerned by the behaviour of some his players in recent weeks.
David Luiz was castigated for his reaction to being substituted in the home draw against Roma, after which Conte told his players they must stick together.
Charly Musonda also came in for criticism for complaining on Instagram about a lack of first-team opportunities.
With his pride dented after being beaten 3-0 on his first return to his native Italy as a manager since leaving his post with the national side, Conte’s patience snapped.
He accused the team of failing to take responsibility after he substituted captain Gary Cahill in the 56th minute.
Having defended his players following defeats this season, Conte publicly accused them of lacking motivation and hunger against Roma – two qualities that were the trademarks of last season’s Premier League title success.
Chelsea blamed “palpable discord between manager and players” for the decision to dismiss Jose Mourinho in 2015, but, crucially, Conte retains the board’s backing. They are sympathetic to the fact that his squad have been hit by injuries, with N’Golo Kante a particularly big loss.
Musonda, however, is believed to want a move in January but Conte has made it clear he wants to keep the 21-year-old and does not believe his squad can cope with losing yet another player.