Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Watford heap pressure on Antonio Conte

Published:Tuesday | February 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure (left) and Chelsea's Davide Zappacosta duel for the ball during their English Premier League match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road stadium in London, yesterday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

WATFORD, England (AP):

Antonio Conte's future as Chelsea manager was cast into further doubt as his 10 men were thrashed by Watford 4-1 in the English Premier League yesterday.

Conte called on Chelsea's hierarchy to "prepare a statement ... to say they trust me in my work" ahead of the game, but it was another dismal evening for the defending champion, which is 19 points adrift of leader Manchester City.

Chelsea, which lost at home to Bournemouth 3-0 last week, were poor again, especially after Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off inside half an hour for a second yellow card for a second woeful tackle.

Back to winning ways

Watford had not won since December 26, and got off the mark just before half-time thanks to a disputed penalty. Gerard Deulofeu, charging at the goal, fell over too easily under goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and Troy Deeney converted the kick.

Eden Hazard, chosen by Conte to spearhead the attack with new signing Olivier Giroud in the reserves, produced a brilliant equaliser after the break, beating Etienne Capoue and curling home from 25 yards.

But Watford were back in front within two minutes with a terrific goal by Daryl Janmaat. He collected the ball on the right, jinked into the box, exchanged passes with Roberto Pereyra and coolly finished with his weaker left foot.

With Chelsea committing bodies forward, Deulofeu capitalised to lead a counterattack which he finished with a well-taken strike, and Pereyra added the fourth in added time.