Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 on Wednesday night to book their place in the League Cup final on February 25 where they will meet Manchester City.
Having played out a scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, it was all to play for coming into Wednesday night’s fixture.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte expressed his disappointment after the full-time whistle when he spoke to the press.
What’s more is, the straight talking Italian also expressed his disappointment with new signing Ross Barkley’s current condition.
While it must be conceded that Barkley is on the comeback trail from a serious hamstring injury, Conte was not shy in pointing out how much room the England international has for improvement to reach the level required to make the grade at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking after the game, the Blues’ manager reflected on the good run his side had went on in the competition to reach the penultimate stage and how he was pleased with his players’ efforts.
“I think my players must be pleased with their effort, we tried to reach the final, we conceded two goals and we were unlucky, two deflections.
“It is a pity because we had a good run in this competition, it is a pity for me, the players and fans.”
Conte continued to not hold back in his criticism of Barkey, who joined the club from Everton this month in a deal worth £15 million.
“When there is an injury to one of your best players it is not simple, especially when on the bench the only substitue is Ross Barkley.
“Barkley has a lot of space for improvement, he is working with us only two weeks but for sure today I was forced to make this substitution, but he can improve a lot,” he said.
(Quotes via BBC.)
Conte clearly indicated that his preference would have been not to play Barkley as he is yet to complete his road back to full fitness, having missed the entire opening half of the season due to the aforementioned injury.
The 24-year-old will undoubtedly grow into his position at Chelsea given time, but for now, as his manager stated, there is plenty room for improvement.