Despite Chelsea easing past Championship side Hull City 4-0 in the FA Cup fifth round last night, all has not been well at Stamford Bridge this season.
Antonio Conte’s side that won the Premier League so impressively last season, have struggled for form during large parts of this campaign, and sit in fourth position in the table 19 points behind leaders Man City.
The Blues Italian coach has of course also been at odds with the Stamford Bridge club’s board over transfer policy, leading to speculation that he could be sacked and replaced with former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
However, former Liverpool defender and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, has put the reigning Premier League Champions struggles on the pitch this season down to loss of two players last summer, when he said:
“There’s no doubt they lost something with captain John Terry going, with what he was like around the training ground and in the dressing room, and of course they miss Costa,”
“There are few strikers who can do what he does.”
Carragher, however, does understand why the Italian decided to let the controversial striker move back to Atletico Madrid.
“People say Conte could have managed that situation better, but Costa caused a lot of problems and it will have been difficult for the manager to forget about him not wanting to play in a title run-in.
“If you’re in Conte’s position, you’re not going to accept that. It’s then up to you to replace him with quality.”
Chelsea have won their last two games to ease the pressure on Conte somewhat, although they face the mighty Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night in the first-leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.