He’s usually a good keeper, on his day very tough to beat. Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois admitted his team ‘lost their fighting spirit’ as they fell to a 3-0 Champions League defeat against Roma in the Italian capital.

The Premier League champions remain in pole position to qualify for the knock-out phase of the competition after Group C minnow Qarabag secured a shock 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in Spain, but the ramifications of Chelsea’s defeat will rumble on ahead of their crucial Premier League game against Manchester United on Sunday.

Yet it was Courtois confession that Chelsea didn’t have the stomach to come back from two early Roma goals that were telling in his post match interview with BT Sport.

“I thought we played well in the first half but in the second half we seemed to drop our fighting spirit and I don’t know what happened,” declared the Belgian stopper. ” We were not just our usual selves

“It is hard to say what the problem is. This season every game is a hard game. We have to find that balance again and keeping that mentality of not conceding goals and keeping clean sheets.”

Courtois then sounded the rallying cry ahead of Sunday’s game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, as he urged his team-mates to respond as they take on their former manager Jose Mourinho.

“We have to fight back on Sunday against Manchester United,” he added. “Sometimes last season I had nothing to do in a game, sometimes I’d have one save to make. We have to react on Sunday as today was a bad image of ourselves and we must improve before Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte offered up a brutally honest assesment of his side’s lacklustre display in Rome, as he candidly suggested their season could collapse unless they find the fighting spirit that took them to the Premier League title last season.

 “When you lose 3-0, it means it wasn’t a good performance. Our first half was good, we created many chances to score, but to be 2-0 down was unfair,” said a downbeat Conte.

“In the second half, it was a really bad performance. Roma showed more will to fight and more desire to win the game. I’m very disappointed with our second half. For this performance, we all have to take responsibility.

“My task is to find the best solution to try to avoid this type of game again. We have to work together; we need to have the will to dig deep. If we think because our name is Chelsea the opponent is fearful, this is not the right way. We must have a great desire to be the protagonist in every game.

“We must find the hunger we showed all of last season and sometimes this season. But this season has been up and down. If you are a great team, you must have stability and consistency. At this moment, we are struggling to have this type of balance.

“To be competitive you need consistency, consistency which we have been lacking so far because we have faced a number of problems which have to be strong enough to overcome.

“When you concede three goals, you must be worried. It means something doesn’t work. It’s very difficult now, but we have to analyse the game. We need to work on the tactical aspect. We are working less on this aspect this season. We have to look at ourselves. Tonight was a bad night for us. Just one night, I hope.

“If we are not ready to dig deep, we can have this type of game. We have to know this. This season will be difficult if we don’t quickly understand the right way to go.”

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