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Chelsea Players 'Texting Former No. 2 Steve Holland' Amid Antonio Conte Concerns

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2017

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea and Steve Holland, Chelsea first team coach celebrate winning the league after the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns on May 12, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. Chelsea are crowned champions after a 1-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Chelsea players are reportedly "missing the influence" of former assistant coach Steve Holland and have been in contact with him as their relationship with manager Antonio Conte is under stress. 

Holland left Stamford Bridge in the summer to take on the role of Gareth Southgate's No. 2 with England, and Chelsea players have since been in contact with him via text during a difficult start to the new campaign, per The Sun's Martin Lipton.

Lipton added the squad have been discussing among themselves how much they miss the presence of Holland, who acted as a go-between to Conte. 

Champions Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League table, nine points behind table-topping Manchester CityThey have already lost three top-flight matches this season, returning to winning ways with a 4-2 defeat of Watford at the weekend after back-to-back losses against City and Crystal Palace

B/R Football @brfootball

Things turned around real quick for Crystal Palace 😂 https://t.co/VALDDRB2md

The added workload this season caused by having UEFA Champions League football to contend with has partially exposed a lack of depth in the squad.

Matt Hughes in The Times reported last week Chelsea's players are unhappy Conte has continued with his high-intensity training despite a packed schedule, and they believe it has led to fatigue and recent injuries to N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses, Alvaro Morata, David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The latest reports concerning Holland add further weight to the idea there is unrest at Stamford Bridge as they struggle in defence of their title.

It is far from the disaster of two seasons ago when, after a corresponding nine matches of the 2015-16 campaign, Jose Mourinho's champions were 12th having lost four matches and won only three times.

The Portuguese manager was sacked before Christmas with the Blues just above the relegation zone.

A similar slump seems unlikely from Chelsea's current side, but they are already off the pace in the title race, and the relationship between the manager and the players is seemingly not ideal. 

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