Chelsea boss Antonio Conte took a sly dig at the club’s board after claiming his side’s title defence was over following a 1-0 defeat to West Ham.
Marko Arnautovic struck within the first ten minutes to give the Hammers the lead at the London Stadium and David Moyes’ first win in east London.
Chelsea failed to register a shot on target during the second half and the defeat means the Blues have lost four of their opening 16 matches this term.
Conte believes that is too many defeats to overcome an 11-point deficit against Manchester City and he took a thinly-veiled dig at Chelsea’s board by claiming he has to rely on the same players every week.
‘Maybe today many players were tired,’ said Conte.
‘We made a lost of mistakes in our final decisions and it means you’re a bit tired but I repeat when you play every game [in the space] of three days and almost always with the same players it can happen.’
Conte was furious with his board’s failure to sign his top targets in the summer, missing out on the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Llorente and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The Blues spent the last fortnight of the window scrambling to sign secondary targets and managed to recruit Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta in the final few days.
With Manchester City taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, Chelsea had the perfect opportunity to make up ground on their rivals.
However, the Blues put in a lacklustre display against the Hammers and Conte says the gap is now too big to come back from.
‘We have to consider that this is the fourth game that we have lost after 16 games,’ said Conte.
‘When you lose four games, in my previous experience, it tells me that it’s impossible to stay and fight for the title.
‘In 16 games, to lose four games, it means the target must be another.’