Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted that the performance of Arsenal ‘surprised’ his team after they lost 2-1 in Saturday’s all-London FA Cup final clash.
Having wrapped up the Premier League title several weeks ago, the Blues were chasing a domestic double, but came unstuck at Wembley as the Gunners dominated for large periods and took advantage of Victor Moses’ red card to claim victory.
With Chelsea clearly below-par, Conte conceded that his team had been taken back by their opponents, whilst he also rued a slow start to the contest.
He told the BBC: “The first half we didn’t start well, we didn’t have the right approach and we suffered in first 25 minutes.
“Arsenal started very well with great determination. They surprised us a bit but I repeat our first 25 minutes weren’t good.
“We started to play better in the second half and the red card was decisive. At our best moment, the referee decided to give the red card.”
When asked for his reflections on Sanchez’s opener, the Chelsea boss was quick to suggest that it should have been disallowed for handball.
He added: “I didn’t see the incident on the TV and it was difficult to understand.
“The first goal, the player had his hands attached to the ball with two hands. Offside or not is not important.”
Though Conte’s hopes of claiming the double in his first season are over, he remained upbeat as he hailed his team’s Premier League title triumph.
With a busy summer of spending expected at Stamford Bridge, the Blues’ manager also hinted that he was already thinking ahead to next season.
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He said: “There is disappointment for the final result but it can happen and there was a lot of pressure. Victor Moses has been good and played an important season.
“Our season was incredible to win the league in this way, it was great but now its important to look forward and to restart.”