Chelsea players left angry due to Antonio Conte's training sessions
Chelsea players are reportedly unhappy with manager Antonio Conte's training regime.
What's the story?
According to the London based newspaper, The Times, many Chelsea players are said to be frustrated with the Italian's training regime.
However, the ex Italy chief claims that training is "70% less" than it was during last season's Premier League title-winning campaign.
Alongside their strenuous sessions, the players also perform in the Champions League every fortnight and the demands seem to be taking its toll.
While the Chelsea stars remain supportive of the man in charge, they would prefer it if Conte decided against changing his managerial methods.
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Speculation has started to mount surrounding the future of Conte's job and this news will only add to the uncertainty. The West London club have failed to be victorious in their last three games, in a streak which included the Champions League 3-3 draw at home to Roma.
Chelsea face Watford this weekend and currently sit nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
The heart of the matter
The Times suggested that the tiresome training schedule may have played source to Chelsea's injury concerns. N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses, David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko are all sidelined and are yet to return to action.
The newspaper proposed that the former Juventus boss has kept with last term's routine. However, reports of unrest amongst the squad have gathered due to the high levels of physical demand as well as a number of tactical meetings and rare player days off.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Conte defended his training routine and said that the injury crisis is just a part and parcel of today's game.
He said: "When you play every three days it's impossible to work on the tactical and physical aspect. I think we are paying less attention to every detail.
"You can train only a part of your fitness, you lose your strength. When you have more players you can use them and rest others."
Chelsea now have a run of six games in two weeks and pose the threat of going four games without a win.
Former Premier League star Craig Bellamy pointed the finger towards Conte and also believes Conte's persistent training exercises are the reason behind their injury woes.
Talking on the Sky Sports debate show, the Welshman said: "The team won the league last year and they had no Champions League or Europe so they could just concentrate on the league.
"But I'm concerned about the injuries they're getting. They've had a lot of hamstring injuries. A lot of these players play a lot of international football, of course they do.
"But maybe his training at times? I know he [Conte] likes to do a lot of double sessions.
"As well as playing two games a week, it's very difficult and you're going to pick up injuries during that period."
You don't have to look far back in the Premier League archives to find the last time a manager won the Premier League then faced being axed the following season. Claudio Ranieri was a victim of his own success last campaign after winning the league with Leicester City in 2015.
Despite the circumstances changing and Conte being at the helm of a club who demand results on a week to week basis, you cannot help but sympathise with the Italian. We are approaching a time where player power is becoming more of a common trend within football than the influence of fans.
It doesn't seem comprehensible that a group of players could unite against their manager's wishes just months after winning the league, especially as they won it in a year where they weren't the most overwhelming favourites to do so.
While this year Chelsea now have to deal with the fortnightly exerts of Champions League football, the league has become far more competitive. The smaller sides are receiving more money than ever from the television deals.and the bigger sides are starting to invest heavily in the transfer market.
All these factors act as variables to the struggles that Conte finds himself facing. If his achievements of last season mean anything, surely it means he should have the authority and belief of his players. If this isn't the case, then the players need to look themselves in the mirror and understand that hard work and success come hand in hand. Results start and end on the training ground, the sooner the players recognise that, the better.