Chelsea's performance against Man City was a 'crime against football'

Manchester City's season has been characterised by regular flourishes that will make them worthy Premier League champions when the formalities are finally concluded.

When Redknapp's comments were put to Conte, he said: "I think in this moment you have to accept every critic, but I am not so stupid to play against Manchester City open and to lose 3-0 or 4-0". Neville called it "embarrassing" and added during the game: "They're just watching Manchester City play; they're like mannequins... it is painful to watch, this". "When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition".

In driving rain, and with Chelsea mysteriously refusing to take off the handbrake, they were able to close out a victory that will, in its own way, have brought as much pleasure to Guardiola as numerous more spectacular wins this season.

"Manchester City didn't even have to be that good, Chelsea didn't really want to play".

With this win, City moved 18 points clear at the top of the table.

Chelsea, missing key midfielder N'Golo Kante, just about survived the first half, only to concede immediately after the restart when David Silva crossed for Bernardo Silva to force in a finish at the far post.

"It's not good enough [the lack of shots on target] but this is the truth".

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But no-one seemed to say anything about their tactics or try anything different, which was another reason the team just carried on what they were doing. "When the team struggles for confidence it's even more hard".

Chelsea's only real opportunity of an equalizer came midway through the second half when Victor Moses was played in down the right with City's defense momentarily torn open.

Olivier Giroud came on for Willian in the 78th minute when it looked for all intents and purposes that Pedro should be the one taken off. Hazard, in particular, looked a frustrated figure while playing mostly with his back to goal and surviving on scraps of possession.

Chelsea are battling for Champions League football next season but defeat at City would leave Conte's side five points adrift of the last qualifying spot if their fourth-placed London rivals Tottenham Hotspur beat Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

It also left the reigning champions 25 points behind leaders City and Conte admitted the game emphasised the current gulf in class between the sides. Our high pressing, our build-up was outstanding so we are so happy because it's another step forward to be champions. In terms of results and the way we play, so far we are so good.

Even Wigan, who had to defend for their lives for the majority of their shock FA Cup fifth-round win last month, tested City defensively before winning 1-0.

"We made an fantastic performance because Chelsea is still the champions".

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