Unhappy Conte takes umbrage at refereeing decisions in loss

Chelsea 'keeper Thibaut Courtois balloons his penalty over the bar as Arsenal came out on top in the Community Shield shoot-out. The Gunners and the Blues open their campaign against Leicester and Burnley respectively.
Chelsea 'keeper Thibaut Courtois balloons his penalty over the bar as Arsenal came out on top in the Community Shield shoot-out. The Gunners and the Blues open their campaign against Leicester and Burnley respectively.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • A disgruntled Antonio Conte said he was angry at the decisions of the referee after his Chelsea side lost the FA Community Shield to Arsenal 1-4 on penalties on Sunday, and hinted he was unhappy with the lack of reinforcements to his squad with his side's first Premier League game only five days away.

Bobby Madley failed to award a penalty when Willian appeared to be clipped in the penalty area by Hector Bellerin, and then sent off Pedro in the 80th minute for a challenge on Mohamed Elneny, prompting a conversation with Conte.

Arsenal scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw from the subsequent free kick.

"For sure there is a bit of frustration," Conte said. "You know very well we have to respect referees' decisions, but sometimes these decisions make you a bit angry.

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"He tried to tell me, to explain to me his decision. But there wasn't time, because I also wanted to ask him why it wasn't a penalty and the yellow card about Willian. Then we stayed to speak and finished the game at 9pm."

With Diego Costa's Chelsea career seemingly over, Conte watched Michy Batshuayi fail to make an impact and Costa's replacement, Alvaro Morata, miss a penalty in the shoot-out.

Asked if Chelsea needed to sign more players, Conte said: "I have replied to this question. I hope in the future to have a different question."

Chelsea begin the defence of their Premier League title against Burnley on Saturday and Conte said Morata and fellow newcomers Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger were short of 100 per cent match fitness.

Conte also defended the decision to allow Thibaut Courtois, the goalkeeper, to take the second penalty in the shoot-out after the Belgian sent his spot kick over the bar.

"Courtois is one of the best players to kick a penalty," he said. "If you have a player that shows you during the training session to be one of the best, you pick him to shoot the penalty."

Arsene Wenger described the result as an "encouragement" and praised the performance of Sead Kolasinac, who scored the equaliser after coming on as a substitute.

"I had a hesitation to play him from the start - I thought Wembley, the pressure," the Arsenal said. "But when he came on, he was outstanding."

Wenger left Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil out of the match-day squad and admitted that he could be without the latter two when Arsenal begin their season against Leicester City on Friday.

"I left them all out because some are short of preparation, like Sanchez," he said. "Ozil got a kick on his ankle, it's swollen, couldn't play or practice yesterday. He has a little chance to play on Friday, Ramsey has a chance to play, but he could be short with a calf problem."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'Unhappy Conte takes umbrage at refereeing decisions in loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe