Motivation, or apparent lack of it, is viewed by many Blues fans as being the root cause of Chelsea's slump in form which took a serious turn for the worse at the beginning of the year. He has started this season with a problem in his calf.

Asked to elaborate on what mistakes he had made, Conte added: "When you have this type of season you have to share this responsibility, not only the boss".

It has been an inconsistent few weeks for the Blues, who lost three, won two and drew two - while also being eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona. A possibility then to play in the final for the second year in a row. But I'm not alone. "Instead we have struggled a lot, for many reasons".

As is custom in the Premier League there's inevitably going to be another frenzied summer of change in the dugout as a number of clubs prepare to embark on a new managerial chapter. Two years ago [in 2015-16, when Chelsea finished 10th in the Premier League], this happened the same.

"It is hard, very difficult, but it is possible", he told Sky Sports. Azpilicueta may not think it will save Chelsea's season, but for the club's fans it would be a joyous occasion. There are six games to go and we have an FA Cup semi-final as well. "My job is to work with these players and try and finish this season as strongly as possible", he said.

On the global stage, he managed his native France for two years before stepping down after France got knocked out the Euro 2012 quarter-finals by eventual winners Spain.

Steven Davis slotted home an equaliser on the stroke of half time before Sadio Mane took advantage of poor defensive errors to sprint clear of the Chelsea defence and give the visitors the lead on the hour mark.

Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea looks on prior to the Premier League match against West Ham United at the London Stadium on December 9, 2017 in London, England.